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From the Famois Painting by Rosa Bonheur 










Copyright, 1899 
In the United States, Great Britain, and France 









The Old Homestead in Iowa ... 



Will's First Indian .... 



The Shadow of Partisan Strife 



Persecution Continues .... 



The "Boy Extra" - . - - . 


Family Defender and Household Tease 



Indian Encounter and School-Day Incidents 



Death and Burial of Turk - - - 



Will as Pony Express Rider ... 



Echoes from Sumter .... 



A Short but Dashing Indian Campaign 



The Mother's Last Illness 



In the Secret-Service - - - - 



A Rescue and a Betrothal - - 



Will as a Benedict - - - - 



How the Sobriquet of "Buffalo Bill" was Won 



Satanta, Chief of the Kiowas . _ . 


Will Made Chief of Scouts 


Army Life at Fort McPherson 



Pa-has-ka, the Long-Haired Chief 


The Hunt of the Grand Duke Alexis 



Theatrical Experiences .... 



The Government's Indian Policy 


Literary Work . . . - - 



First Visit to the Valley of the Big Horn 



Tour of Great Britain . . - - 



Return of the "Wild West" to America 



A Tribute to General Miles 



The "Wild West" at the World's Fair - 



Cody Day at the Omaha Exposition 



The Last of the Great Scouts 




The following genealogical sketch was compiled in 1897. 
The crest is copied from John Rooney's '^Genealogical 
History of Irish Families." 

It is not generally known that genuine royal blood 
courses in Colonel Cody's veins. He is a lineal descendant 
of Milesius, king of Spain, that famous monarch whose 
three sons, Heber, Heremon, and Ir, founded the first 
dynasty in Ireland, about the beginning of the Christian 
era. The Cody family comes through the line of Heremon. 
The original name was Tireach, which signifies *'The 
Rocks." Muiredach Tireach, one of the first of this line, 
and son of Fiacha Straivetine, was crowned king of Ireland, 
Anno Domini 320. Another of the line became king of 
Connaught, Anno Domini 701. The possessions of the 
Sept were located in the present counties of Clare, Galway, 
and Mayo. The names Connaught-Gallway, after cen- 
turies, gradually contracted to Connallway, Connellway, 
Connelly, Conly, Cory, Coddy, Coidy, and Cody, and is 
clearly shown by ancient indentures still traceable among 
existing records. On the maternal side. Colonel Cody can, 
without difficulty, follow his lineage to the best blood of 
England. Several of the Cody family emigrated to America 
in 1747, settling in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 
The name is frequently mentioned in Revolutionary his- 
tory. Colonel Cody is a member of the Cody family of 
Revolutionary fame. Like the other Spanish-Irish families, 
the Codys have their proof of ancestry in the form of a 




crest, the one which Colonel Cody is entitled to use being 
printed herewith. The lion signifies Spanish origin. It is 
the same figure that forms a part of the royal coat-of-arms 
of Spain to this day — Castile and Leon. The arm and 
cross denote that the descent is through the line of Here- 
mon, whose posterity were among the first to follow the 
cross, as a symbol of their adherence to the Christian faith. 


In presenting this volume to the public the writer has a 
twofold purpose. For a number of years there has been 
an increasing demand for an authentic biography of Buf- 
falo Bill," and in response, many books of varying value 
have been submitted; yet no one of them has borne the 
hall-mark of veracious history. Naturally, there were 
incidents in Colonel Cody's life— more especially in the 
earlier years — that could be given only by those with 
whom he had grown up from childhood. For many inci- 
dents of his later life I am indebted to his own and others* 
accounts. I desire to acknowledge obligation to General 
P. H. Sheridan, Colonel Inman, Colonel Ingraham, and my 
brother for valuable assistance furnished by Sheridan's 
Memoirs, ''The Santa F^ Trail," ''The Great Salt Lake 
Trail," "Buffalo Bill's Autobiography," and "Stories from 
the Life of Buffalo Bill." 

A second reason that prompted the writing of my 
brother's life-story is purely personal. The sobriquet of 
"Buffalo Bill" has conveyed to many people an impression 
of his personality that is far removed from the facts. They 
have pictured in fancy a rough frontier character, without 
tenderness and true nobility. But in very truth has the 
poet sung: 

"The bravest are the tenderest — 
The loving are the daring." 

The public knows my brother as boy Indian-slayer, a 
champion buffalo-hunter, a brave soldier, a daring scout, 




an intrepid frontiersman, and a famous exhibitor. It is 
only fair to him that a glimpse be given of the parts he 
played behind the scenes — devotion to a widowed mother, 
that pushed the boy so early upon a stage of ceaseless 
action, continued care and tenderness displayed in later 
years, and the generous thoughtfulness of manhood's prime. 

Thus a part of my pleasant task has been to enable the 
public to see my brother through his sister's eyes — eyes 
that have seen truly if kindly. If I have been tempted 
into praise where simple narrative might to the reader 
seem all that was required, if I have seemed to exaggerate 
in any of my history's details, I may say that I am not 
conscious of having set down more than **a plain, unvar- 
nished tale." Embarrassed with riches of fact, I have had 
no thought of fiction. 

H. C. W. 


February 26, 1899. 




A PLEASANT, roomy farm-house, set in the sunlight against 
a background of cool, green wood and mottled meadow — 
this is the picture that my earliest memories frame for me. 
To this home my parents, Isaac and Mary Cody, had 
moved soon after their marriage. 

The place was known as the Scott farm, and was situ- 
ated in Scott County, Iowa, near the historic little town 
of Le Clair, where, but a few years before, a village of the 
Fox Indians had been located ; where Black Hawk and his 
thousand warriors had assembled for their last war-dance; 
where the marquee of General Scott was erected, and the 
treaty with the Sacs and Foxes drawn up ; and where, in 
obedience to the Sac chief's terms, Antoine Le Clair, the 
famous half-breed Indian scholar and interpreter, had built 
his cabin, and given to the place his name. Here, in this 
atmosphere of pioneer struggle and Indian warfare — in the 
farm-house in the dancing sunshine, with the background 
of wood and meadow — my brother, William Frederick 
Cody, was born, on the 26th day of February, 1846. 

Of the good, old-fashioned sort was our family, num- 
bering five daughters and two sons — Martha, Samuel, 
Julia, William, Eliza, Helen, and May. Samuel, a lad of 



unusual beauty of face and nature, was killed through an 
unhappy accident before he was yet fourteen. 

He was riding ''Betsy Baker," a mare well known 
among old settlers in Iowa as one of speed and pedigree, 
yet displaying at times a most malevolent temper, accom- 
panied by Will, who, though only seven years of age, yet 
sat his pony with the ease and grace that distinguished the 
veteran rider of the future. Presently Betsy Baker became 
fractious, and sought to throw her rider. In vain did she 
rear and plunge; he kept his saddle. Then, seemingly, 
she gave up the fight, and Samuel cried, in boyish exulta- 

*'Ah, Betsy Baker, you didn't quite come it that time!" 

His last words! As if she knew her rider was a careless 
victor off his guard, the mare reared suddenly and flung 
herself upon her back, crushing the daring boy beneath her. 

Though to us younger children our brother Samuel was 
but a shadowy memory, in him had centered our parents' 
fondest hopes and aims. These, naturally, were trans- 
ferred to the younger, now the only son, and the hope that 
mother, especially, held for him was strangely stimulated 
by the remembrance of the mystic divination of a sooth- 
sayer in the years agone. My mother was a woman of too 
much intelligence and force of character to nourish an 
average superstition; but prophecies fulfilled will temper, 
though they may not shake, the smiling unbelief of the 
most hard-headed skeptic. Mother's moderate skepticism 
was not proof against the strange fulfillment of one proph- 
ecy, which fell out in this wise: 

To a Southern city, which my mother visited when a 
girl, there came a celebrated fortune-teller, and led by curi- 
osity, my mother and my aunt one day made two of the 
crowd that thronged the sibyl's drawing-rooms. 



Both received with laughing incredulity the prophecy 
that my aunt and the two children wdth her would be dead 
in a fortnight; but the dread augury was fulfilled to the 
letter. All three were stricken with yellow fever, and died 
within less than the time set. This startling confirmation 
of the soothsayer's divining powers not unnaturally affected 
my mother's belief in that part of the prophecy relating to 
herself: that ''she would meet her future husband on the 
steamboat by which she expected to return home ; that she 
would be married to him in a year, and bear three sons, of 
whom only the second would live, but that the name of 
this son would be known all over the world, and would one 
day be that of the President of the United States." The 
first part of this prophecy was verified, and Samuel's death 
was another link in the curious chain of circumstances. 
Was it, then, strange that mother looked with unusual 
hope upon her second son? 

That 'tis good fortune for a boy to be only brother to 
five sisters is open to question. The older girls petted 
Will; the younger regarded him as a superior being; while 
to all it seemed so fit and proper that the promise of the 
stars concerning his future should be fulfilled that never for 
a moment did we weaken in our belief that great things 
were in store for our only brother. We looked for the 
prophecy's complete fulfillment, and with childish venera- 
tion regarded Will as one destined to sit in the executive's 

My mother, always somewhat delicate, was so affected 
in health by the shock of Samuel's death that a change of 
scene was advised. The California gold craze was then at 
its height, and father caught the fever, though in a mild 
form ; for he had prospered as a farmer, and we not only 
had a comfortable home, but were in easy circumstances. 



Influenced in part by a desire to improve mother's health, 
and in part, no doubt, by the golden day-dreams that lured 
so many Argonauts Pacificward, he disposed of his farm, 
and bade us prepare for a Western journey. Before his 
plans were completed he fell in with certain disappointed 
gold-seekers returning from the Coast, and impressed by 
their representations, decided in favor of Kansas instead of 

Father had very extravagant ideas regarding vehicles 
and horses, and such a passion for equestrian display, that 
we often found ourselves with a stable full of thoroughbreds 
and an empty cupboard. For our Western migration we 
had, in addition to three prairie-schooners, a large family 
carriage, drawn by a span of fine horses in silver-mounted 
harness. This carriage had been made to order in the 
East, upholstered in the finest leather, polished and var- 
nished as though for a royal progress. Mother and we 
girls found it more comfortable riding than the springless 

Brother Will constituted himself an armed escort, and 
rode proudly alongside on his pony, his gun slung across 
the pommel of his saddle, and the dog Turk bringing up 
the rear. 

To him this Western trip thrilled with possible Indian 
skirmishes and other stirring adventures, though of the real 
dangers that lay in our path he did not dream. For him, 
therefore, the first week of our travels held no great inter- 
est, for we were constantly chancing upon settlers and 
farm-houses, in which the night might be passed ; but with 
every mile the settlers grew fewer and farther between, 
until one day Will whispered to us, in great glee: *'I heard 
father tell mother that he expected we should have to camp 
to-night. Now we'll have some fun!" 




Will's hope was well founded. Shortly before nightfall j 

we reached a stream that demanded a ferry-boat for its | 

crossing, and as the nearest dwelling was a dozen miles • 

away, it was decided that we should camp by the stream- ] 

side. The family was first sent across the ferry, and upon j 

the eight-year-old lad of the house father placed the j 

responsibility of selecting the ground on which to pitch the ) 

tents. i 

My brother's career forcibly illustrates the fact that \ 

environment plays as large a part as heredity in shaping ] 

character. Perhaps his love for the free life of the plains | 

is a heritage derived from some long-gone ancestor; but s 

there can be no doubt that to the earher experiences of j 

which I am writing he owed his ability as a scout. The i 

faculty for obtaining water, striking trails, and finding \ 
desirable camping-grounds in him seemed almost instinct. 

The tents being pitched upon a satisfactory site, Will \ 
called to Turk, the dog, and rifle in hand, set forth in 

search of game for supper. He was successful beyond his ^ 

fondest hopes. He had looked only for small game, but i 

scarcely had he put the camp behind him when Turk gave i 
a signaling yelp, and out of the bushes bounded a magnifi- 
cent deer. Nearly every hunter will confess to ''buck 

fever' ' at sight of his first deer, so it is not strange that a >■ 

boy of Will's age should have stood immovable, staring ! 

dazedly at the graceful animal until it vanished from sight. \ 

Turk gave chase, but soon trotted back, and barked ] 

reproachfully at his young master. But Will presently had 1 

an opportunity to recover Turk's good opinion, for the | 

dog, after darting away, with another signaling yelp fetched ^ 

another fine stag within gun range. This time the young i 

hunter, mastering his nerves, took aim with steady hand, i 

and brought down his first deer. • 




On the following Sabbath we were encamped by another 
deep, swift-running stream. After being wearied and 
overheated by a rabbit chase, Turk attempted to swim 
across this little river, but was chilled, and would have per- 
ished had not Will rushed to the rescue. The ferryman 
saw the boy struggling with the dog in the water, and 
started after him with his boat. But Will reached the 
bank without assistance. 

"VvQ hearn of dogs saving children, but this is the first 
time I ever hearn of a child saving a dog from drowning," 
ejaculated the ferryman. ''How old be you?" 

''Eight, going on nine," answered Will. 

"You're a big boy for your age," said the man. "But 
it's a wonder you didn't sink with that load ; he's a big old 
fellow," referring to Turk, who, standing on three feet, 
was vigorously shaking the water from his coat. Will at 
once knelt down beside him, and taking the uplifted foot 
in his hands, remarked: "He must have sprained one of 
his legs when he fell over that log; he doesn't whine like 
your common curs when they get hurt." 

"He's blooded stock, then," said the man. "What 
kind of dog do you call him?" 

"He's an Ulm dog," said Will. 

"I never heard tell of that kind of dog before." 

"Did you ever hear of a tiger-mastiff, German mastiff, 
boar-hound, great Dane? Turk's all of them together." 

"Well," said the ferryman, "you're a pretty smart little 
fellow, and got lots of grit. You ought to make your mark 
in the world. But right now you had better get into some 
dry clothes." And on the invitation of the ferryman, 
Will and the limping dog got into the boat, and were 
taken back to camp. 

Turk played so conspicuous and important a part in 



our early lives that he deserves a brief description. He ! 

was a large and powerful animal of the breed of dogs ] 
anciently used in Germany in hunting the wild boars. 

Later the dogs were imported into England, where they : 

were particularly valued by people desiring a strong, brave - 

watch-dog. When specially trained, they are more fierce j 

and active than the English mastiff. Naturally they are \ 

not as fond of the water as the spaniel, the stag-hound, or I 
the Newfoundland, though they are the king of dogs on 

land. Not alone Will, but the rest of the family, regarded ] 

Turk as the best of his kind, and he well deserved the ■ 

veneration he inspired. His fidelity and almost human j 

intelligence were time and again the means of saving life | 
and property; ever faithful, loyal, and ready to lay down 

his life, if need be, in our service. ; 

Outlaws and desperadoes were always to be met with on ' 

Western trails in those rugged days, and more than once \ 

Turk's constant vigilance warned father in time to prevent \ 

attacks from suspicious night prowlers. The attachment \ 

which had grown up between Turk and his young master \ 

was but the natural love of boys for their dogs intensified. I 

Will at that time estimated dogs as in later years he did i 

men, the qualities which he found to admire in Turk being j 

vigilance, strength, courage, and constancy. With men, ; 

as with dogs, he is not lavishly demonstrative ; rarely pats ] 

them on the back. But deeds of merit do not escape his ] 

notice or want his appreciation. The patience, unselfish- | 

ness, and true nobility observed in this faithful canine \ 

friend of his boyhood days have many times proved to be 1 

lacking in creatures endowed with a soul ; yet he has never { 

lost faith in mankind, or in the ultimate destiny of his race. ! 

This I conceive to be a characteristic of all great men. i 

This trip was memorable for all of us, perhaps especially ■ 



so for brother Will, for it comprehended not only his first 
deer, but his first negro. 

As we drew near the Missouri line we came upon a 
comfortable farm-house, at which father made inquiry con- 
cerning a lodging for the night. A widow lived there, and 
the information that father was brother to Elijah Cody, of 
Platte County, Missouri, won us a cordial welcome and the 
hospitality of her home. 

We were yet in the road, waiting father's report, when 
our startled vision and childish imagination took in a seem- 
ing apparition, which glided from the bushes by the way- 

It proved a full-blooded African, with thick lips, woolly 
hair, enormous feet, and scant attire. To all except 
mother this was a new revelation of humanity, and we 
stared in wild-eyed wonder; even Turk was surprised into 
silence. At' this point father rejoined us, to share in 
mother's amusement, and to break the spell for us by 
pleasantly addressing the negro, who returned a respectful 
answer, accompanied by an ample grin. He was a slave 
on the widow's plantation. 

Reassured by the grin. Will offered his hand, and ta'^ted 
the joy of being addressed as "Massa" in the talk that fol- 
lowed. It was with difificulty that we prevailed upon 
**Massa" to come to supper. 

After a refreshing night's sleep we went on our way, 
and in a few days reached my uncle's home. A rest was 
welcome, as the journey had been long and toilsome, 
despite the fact that it had been enlivened by many inter- 
esting incidents, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of the 


will's first INDIAN. 

My uncle's home was in Weston, Platte County, Missouri, 
at that time the large city of the West. As father desired 
to get settled again as soon as possible, he left us at 
Weston, and crossed the Missouri River on a prospecting 
tour, accompanied by Will and a guide. More than one 
day went by in the quest for a desirable location, and one 
morning Will, wearied in the reconnoissance, was left 
asleep at the night's camping-place, while father and the 
guide rode away for the day's exploring. 

When Will opened his eyes they fell upon the most 
interesting object that the world just then could offer 
him — an Indian ! 

The noble red man," as he has been poetically termed 
by people who have but known him from afar, was in the 
act of mounting Will's horse, while near by stood his own, 
a miserable, scrawny beast. 

Will's boyish dreams were now a reality; he looked 
upon his first Indian. Here, too, was a ''buck" — not a 
graceful, vanishing deer, but a dirty redskin, who seemingly 
was in some hurry to be gone. Without a trace of "buck 
fever," Will jumped up, rifle in hand, and demanded: 

"Here, what are )^ou doing with my horse?" 

The Indian regarded the lad with contemptuous com- 

"Me swap horses with paleface boy," said he. 


The red man was fully armed, and Will did not know 
whether his father and the guide were within call or not; 
but to suffer the Indian to ride away with Uncle Elijah's 
fine horse was to forfeit his father's confidence and shake 
his mother's and sisters' belief in the family hero; so he 
put a bold face upon the matter, and remarked carelessly, 
as if discussing a genuine transaction : 

''No; I won't swap." 

"Paleface boy fool!" returned the Indian, serenely. 

Now this was scarcely the main point at issue, so Will 
contented himself with replying, quietly but firmly : 

''You cannot take my horse." < 

The Indian condescended to temporize. "Paleface 
horse no good," said he. 

"Good enough for me," replied Will, smiling despite 
the gravity of the situation. The Indian shone rather as 
a liar than a judge of horseflesh. "Good enough for me; 
so you can take your old rack of bones and go." 

Much to Will's surprise, the red man dropped the rein, 
flung himself upon his own pony, and made off. And 
down fell "Lo the poor Indian" from the exalted niche 
that he had filled in Will's esteem, for while it was bad in 
a copper hero to steal horses, it was worse to flee from a 
boy not yet in his teens. But a few moments later Lo 
went back to his lofty pedestal, for Will heard the g-uide's 
voice, and realized that it was the sight of a man, and not 
the threats of a boy, that had sent the Indian about his 
business — if he had any. 

The guide had returned to escort Will to the spot 
which father, after a search of nearly a week, had discov- 
ered, and where he had decided to locate our home. It 
was in Salt Creek Valley, a fertile blue-grass region, shel- 
tered by an amphitheater range of hills. The old Salt Lake 


trail traversed this valley. There were at this time two 
great highways of Western travel, the Santa and the 
Salt Lake trails ; later the Oregon trail came into promi- 
nence. Of these the oldest and most historic was the 
Santa Fe trail, the route followed by explorers three hun- 
dred years ago. It had been used by Indian tribes from 
time, to white men, immemorial. At the beginning of 
this century it was first used as an artery of commerce. 
Over it Zebulon Pike made his well-known Western trip, 
and from it radiated his explorations. The trail lay some 
distance south of Leavenworth. It ran westward, dipping 
slightly to the south until the Arkansas River was reached ; 
then, following the course of this stream to Bent's Fort, it 
crossed the river and turned sharply to the south. It went 
through Raton Pass, and below Las Vegas it turned west 
to Santa Fe. 

Exploration along the line of the Salt Lake trail began 
also with this century. It became a beaten highway at the 
time of the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo to their present 
place of abode. The trail crossed the Missouri River at 
Leavenworth, and ran northerly to the Platte, touching 
that stream at Fort Kearny. With a few variations it 
paralleled the Platte to its junction with the Sweetwater, 
and left this river valley to run through South Pass to big 
Sandy Creek, turning south to follow this little stream. 
At Fort Bridger it turned westward again, passed Echo 
Cafton, and a few miles farther on ran into Salt Lake 
City. Over this trail journeyed thousands of gold-hunters 
toward California, hopeful and high-spirited on the westerly 
way, disappointed and depressed, the large majority of 
them, on the back track. Freighting outfits, cattle trains, 
emigrants — nearly all the western travel — followed this 
track across the new land. A man named Rively, with the 



gift of grasping the advantage of location, had obtained 
permission to establish a trading-post on this trail three 
miles beyond the Missouri, and as proximity to this depot 
of supplies was a manifest convenience, father's selection 
of a claim only two miles distant was a wise one. ^ 

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which provided for the 
organizing of those two territories and opened them for 
settlement, was passed in May, 1854. This bill directly' 
opposed the Missouri Compromise, which restricted slavery 
to all territory south of 36° 30'' north latitude. A clausd 
in the new bill provided that the settlers should decide for 
themselves whether the new territories were to be free or 
slave states. Already hundreds of settlers were camped 
upon the banks of the Missouri, waiting the passage of the 
bill before entering and acquiring possession of the land. 
Across the curtain of the night ran a broad ribbon of dan-3 
cing camp-fires, stretching for miles along the bank of the 
river. | 

None too soon had father fixed upon his claim. Thel 
act allowing settlers to enter was passed in less than a week - 
afterward. Besides the pioneers intending actual settle-^ 
ment, a great rush was made into the territories by mem-^s 
bers of both political parties. These became the gladiators, | 
with Kansas the arena, for a bitter, bloody contest between.; 
those desiring and those opposing the extension of slave | 

Having already decided upon his location, father was ■ 
among the first, after the bill was passed, to file a claim; 
and procure the necessary papers, and shortly afterward he? 
had a transient abiding-place prepared for us. WhateverH 
mother may have thought of the one-roomed cabin, whose| 
chinks let in the sun by day and the moon and stars by 
night, and whose carpet was nature's greenest velvet, life J 



in it was a perennial picnic for the children. Meantime 
father was at work on our permanent home, and before the 
j summer fled we were domiciled in a large double-log house — 
I rough and primitive, but solid and comfort-breeding. 

This same autumn held an episode so deeply graven in 
my memory that time has not blurred a line of it. Jane, 
our faithful maid of all work, who went with us to our 
Western home, had little time to play the governess. 
Household duties claimed her every waking hour, as mother 
was delicate, and the family a large one ; so Turk officiated 
as both guardian and playmate of the children, 
I One golden September day Eliza and I set out after 
iwild flowers, accompanied by Turk and mother's caution 
not to stray too far, as wild beasts, 'twas said, lurked in 
the neighboring forest; but the prettiest flowers were 
always just beyond, and we wandered afield until we 
reached a fringe of timber half a mile from the house, where 
we tarried under the trees. Meantime mother grew 
alarmed, and Will was dispatched after the absent tots. 

Turk, as we recalled, had sought to put a check upon 
our wanderings, and when we entered the woods his rest- 
lessness increased. Suddenly he began to paw up the car- 
pet of dry leaves, and a few moments later the shrill scream 
of a panther echoed through the forest aisles. 

Eliza was barely six years old, and I was not yet four. 
We clung to each other in voiceless terror. Then from afar 
came a familiar whistle — Will's call to his dog. That 
heartened us. babes as we were, for was not our brother 
our reliance in every emergency? Rescue was at hand; 
but Turk continued tearing up the leaves, after signaling 
his master with a loud bark. Then, pulling at our dresses, 
he indicated the refuge he had dug for us. Here we lay 
down, and the dog covered us with the leaves, dragging to 


the heap, as a further screen, a large dead branch. Thei 
with the heart of a lion, he put himself on guard. 

From our leafy covert we could see the panther 
tawny form come gliding through the brush. He sa^ 
Turk, and crouched for a spring. This came as an arrov^ 
but Turk dodged it; and then, with a scream such as 
never heard from dog before or since, our defender hurle 
himself upon the foe. \ 

Turk was powerful, and his courage was flawless, bu 
he was no match for the panther. In a few moments th 
faithful dog lay stunned and bleeding from one stroke o 
the forest-rover's steel-shod paw. The cruel beast ha< 
scented other prey, and dismissing Turk, he paced to an( 
fro, seeking to locate us. We scarcely dared to breathe 
and every throb of our frightened little hearts was a praye 
that Will would come to us in time. 

At last the panther's roving eyes rested upon our inade 
quate hiding-place, and as he crouched for the deadly leaj 
we hid our faces. 

But Turk had arisen. Wounded as he was, he yef 
made one last heroic effort to save us by again directing 
the panther's attention to himself. 

The helpless, hopeless ordeal of agony was broken by 2 
rifle's sharp report. The panther fell, shot through tht 
heart, and out from the screen of leaves rushed two hys- 
terical little girls, with pallid faces drowned in tears, whc 
clung about a brother's neck and were shielded in hh 

Will, himself but a child, caressed and soothed us in £ 
most paternal fashion; and when the storm of sobs waj 
passed we turned to Turk. Happily his injuries were 
not fatal, and he whined feebly when his master reached 



"Bravo! Good dog!" cried Will. "You saved them, 
urk! You saved 1 hem !" And kneeling beside our faith- 
il friend, he put his arms about the shaggy neck. 

Dear old Turk! If there be a land beyond the sky for 
fch as thou, may the snuggest corner and best of bones 
; thy reward ! 



Owing to the conditions, already spoken of, under which 
Kansas was settled, all classes were represented in its pop- 
ulation. Honest, thrifty farmers and well-to-do traders 
leavened a lump of shiftless ne'er-do-wells, lawless adven- 
turers, and vagabonds of all sorts and conditions. If father 
at times questioned the wisdom of coming to this new and 
untried land, he kept his own counsel, and set a brave facC: 
against the future. 

He had been prominent in political circles in Iowa, and 
had filled positions of public trust ; but he had no wish to 
become involved in the partisan strife that raged in Kansas. 
He was a Free Soil man, and there were but two others in^ 
that section who did not believe in slavery. For a year he 
kept his political views to himself; but it became rumored I 
about that he was an able public speaker, and the pro-i 
slavery men naturally ascribed to him the same opinions as || 
those held by his brother Elijah, a pronounced pro-slavery t 
man; so they regarded father as a promising leader in their ) 
cause. He had avoided the issue, and had skillfully con-l 
trived to escape declaring for one side or the other, but on' 
the scroll of his destiny it was written that he should be 
one of the first victims offered on the sacrificial altar of the 
struggle for human liberty. 

The post-trader's was a popular rendezvous for all the j 
settlers round. It was a day in the summer of '55 that I 




father visited the store, accompanied, as usual, by Will and 
Turk. Among the crowd, which was noisy and excited, 
he noted a number of desperadoes in the pro-slavery fac- 
tion, and noted, too, that Uncle Elijah and our two Free 
Soil neighbors, Mr. Hathaway and Mr. Lawrence, were 

Father's appearance was greeted by a clamor for a 
speech. To speak before that audience was to take his 
life in his hands; yet in spite of his excuses he was forced 
to the chair. 

It was written ! There was no escape ! Father walked 
steadily to the dry-goods box which served as a rostrum. 
As he passed Mr. Hathaway, the good old man plucked 
him by the sleeve and begged him to serve out platitudes 
to the crowd, and to screen his real sentiments. 

But father was not a man that dealt in platitudes. 

''Friends," said he, quietly, as he faced his audience 
and drew himself to his full height, — "friends, you are mis- 
taken in your man. I am sorry to disappoint you. I have 
no wish to quarrel with you. But you have forced me to 
speak, and I can do no less than declare my real convic- 
tions. I am, and always have been, opposed to slavery. 
It is an institution that not only degrades the slave, but 
brutalizes the slave-holder, and I pledge you my word that 
I shall use my best endeavors — yes, that I shall lay down 
my life, if need be — to keep this curse from finding lodg- 
ment upon Kansas soil. It is enough that the fairest por- 
tions of our land are already infected with this blight. 
May it spread no farther. All my energy and my ability 
shall swell the effort to bring in Kansas as a Free Soil 
state. ' ' 

Up to this point the crowd had been so dumfounded 
by his temerity that they kept an astonished silence. Now 


the storm broke. The rumble of angry voices swelled into 
a roar of fury. An angry mob surrounded the speaker,! 
Several desperadoes leaped forward with deadly intent, and 
one, Charles Dunn by name, drove his knife to the hilt into 
the body of the brave man who dared thus openly to avow 
his principles. 

As father fell, Will sprang to him, and turning to the 
murderous assailant, cried out in boyhood's fury: 

''You have killed my father! When I'm a man TU kill 

The crowd slunk away, believing father dead. The 
deed appalled them; they were not yet hardened to 
the lawlessness that was so soon to put the state to 

Mr. Hathaway and Will then carried father to a hidftig- 
place in the long grass by the wayside. The crowd 
dispersed so slowly that dusk came on before the coast was 
clear. At length, supported by Will, father dragged his ] 
way homeward, marking his tortured progress with a trail ,) 
of blood. il 

This path was afterward referred to in the early history i 
of Kansas as "The Cody Bloody Trail." i \ 

It was such wild scenes as these that left their impress ;{ 
on the youth and fashioned the Cody of later years — cool;'| 
in emergency, fertile in resource, swift in decision, dashing | 
and intrepid when the time for action came. j 

Our troubles were but begun. Father's convalescence' 
was long and tedious; he never recovered fully. His|j 
enemies believed him dead, and for a while we kept thci 
secret guarded ; but as soon as he was able to be about 
persecution began. 

About a month after the tragedy at Rively's, Will ran in 
one evening with the warning that a band of horsemen 



were approaching. Suspecting trouble, mother put some 
of her own clothes about father, gave him a pail, and bade 
him hide in the cornfield. He walked boldly from the 
house, and sheltered by the gathering dusk, succeeded in 
passing the horsemen unchallenged. The latter rode up 
to the house and dismounted. 

''Where's Cody?" asked the leader. He was informed 
that father was not at home. 

**Lucky for him!" was the frankly brutal rejoinder. 
''We'll make sure work of the killing next time." 

Disappointed in their main intention, the marauders 
revenged themselves in their own peculiar way by looting 
the house of every article that took their fancy ; then they 
sat down with the announced purpose of waiting the return 
of their prospective victim. 

Fearing the effect of the night air upon father, though 
it was yet summer, mother made a sign to Will, who 
slipped from the room, and guided by Turk, carried 
blankets to the cornfield, returning before his absence had 
been remarked. The ruffians soon tired of waiting, and 
rode away, after warning mother of the brave deed they 
purposed to perform. Father came in for the night, 
returning to his covert with the dawn. 

In expectation of some such raid, we had secreted a 
good stock of provisions ; but as soon as the day was up 
Will was dispatched to Rively's store to reconnoiter, under 
pretext of buying groceries. Keeping eyes and ears open, 
he learned that father's enemies were on the watch for 
him; so the cornfield must remain his screen. After sev- 
eral days, the exposure and anxiety told on his strength. 
He decided to leave home and go to Fort Leavenworth, 
four miles distant. When night fell he returned to the 
house, packed a few needed articles, and bade us farewell. 



Will urged that he ride Prince, but he regarded his journey- 
as safer afoot. It was a sad parting. None of us knew 
whether we should ever again see our father. 

''I hope," he said to mother, ''that these clouds will 
soon pass away, and that we may have a happy home once 
more." Then, placing his hands on Will's head, ''You 
will have to be the man of the house until my return," he 
said. "But I know I can trust my boy to watch over his 
mother and sisters." 

With such responsibilities placed upon his shoulders, 
such confidence reposed in him, small wonder that Will 
should grow a man in thought and feeling before he grew 
to be one in years. 

Father reached Fort Leavenworth in safety, but the 
quarrel between the pro-slavery party and the Free Soilers 
waxed more bitter, and he decided that security lay farther 
on; so he took passage on an up-river boat to Doniphan, 
twenty miles distant. This was then a mere landing-place, 
but he found a small band of men in camp cooking supper. 
They were part of Colonel Jim Lane's command, some 
three hundred strong, on their way West from Indiana. 

Colonel Lane was an interesting character. He had 
been a friend to Elijah Lovejoy, who was killed, in 1836, 
for maintaining an anti-slavery newspaper in Illinois. The 
Kansas contest speedily developed the fact that the actual 
settlers sent from the North by the emigrant-aid societies 
would enable the Free State party to outnumber the ruf- 
fians sent in by the Southerners ; and when the pro-slavery 
men were driven to substituting bullets for ballots, Colonel 
Lane recruited a band of hardy men to protect the anti- 
slavery settlers, and incidentally to avenge the murder of 



The meeting of father and Lane's men was a meeting 
of friends, and he chose to cast his lot with theirs. Shortly 
afterward he took part in ''The Battle of Hickory Point," 
in which the pro-slavery men were defeated with heavy 
loss; and thenceforward the name of Jim Lane was a terror 
to the lawless and a wall of protection to our family. 

The storm and stress of battle had drawn heavily on 
what little strength was left to father, and relying for safety 
upon the proximity of Colonel Lane and his men, he 
returned to us secretly by night, and was at once prostrated 
on a bed of sickness. 

This proved a serious strain upon our delicate mother, 
for during father's absence a little brother had been added 
to our home, and not only had she, in addition to the care 
of Baby Charlie, the nursing of a sick man, but she was 
constantly harassed by apprehensions for his safety as well. 



Mother's fears were well grounded. A few days after 
father had returned home, a man named Sharpe, who dis^ 
graced the small office of justice of the peace, rode up to 
our house, very much the worse for liquor, and informed 
mother that his errand was to "search the house for that 
abolition husband of yours." The intoxicated ruffian then 
demanded something to eat. While mother, with a show 
of hospitality, was preparing supper for him, the amiable 
Mr. Sharpe killed time in sharpening his bowie-knife on tha 
sole of his shoe. I 

''That," said he to Will, who stood watching hirra 
"that's to cut the heart out of that Free State father om 
yours!" And he tested the edge w^ith brutally suggestivS 
care. ^ 

Will's comment was to take down his rifle and place 
himself on the staircase leading up to father's room. 
There was trouble in that quarter for Mr. Sharpe, if he 
attempted to ascend those stairs. 

But the justice, as mother surmised, had no notion that 
father was at home, else he would not have come alone. 
He ate heartily of the supper, which Will hoped would 
choke him, and passing from drowsiness to drunken slum- 
ber, soon tumbled from his chair. This so confused him 
that he forgot his pretended errand, and shambled out of- 
the house. He was not so drunk that he could not tell a 




good bit of horseflesh, and he straightway took a fancy to 
Prince, the pet pony of the family. An unwritten plank 
in the platform of the pro-slavery men was that the Free 
Soil party had no rights they were bound to respect, and 
Sharpe remarked to Will, with a malicious grin : 

^'That's a nice pony of yours, sonny. Guess I'll take 
him along with me." And he proceeded to exchange the 
saddle from the back of his own horse to that of Prince. 

**You old coward !" muttered Will, bursting with wrath. 
'Til get even with you some day." 

The justice was a tall, burly fellow, and he cut so ridic- 
ulous a figure as he rode away on Prince's back, his heels 
almost touching the ground, that Will laughed outright as 
he thought of a plan to save his pony. 

A shrill whistle brought Turk to the scene, and receiv- 
ing his cue, the dog proceeded to give Sharpe a very bad 
five minutes. He would nip at one of the dangling legs, 
spring back out of reach of the whip with a triumphant 
bark, then repeat the performance with the other leg. 
This little comedy had a delighted spectator in Will, who 
had followed at a safe distance. Just as Sharpe made one 
extra effort to reach Turk, the boy whistled a signal to 
Prince, who responded with a bound that dumped his rider 
in the dust. Here Turk stood over him and showed his 

''Call off your dog, bub!" the justice shouted to Will, 
''and you may keep your little sheep, for he's no good, 

"That's a bargain!" cried Will, restored to good 
humor; and helping the vanquished foe upon his own 
steed, he assured him that he need not fear Turk so long 
as he kept his word. Sharpe departed, but we were far 
from being rid of him. 



About a fortnight later we were enjoying an evening 
with father, who was now able to come downstairs. He 
was seated in a big arm-chair before the open fire, with his 
family gathered round him, by his side our frail, beautiful 
mother, with Baby Charlie on her knee, Martha and Julia, 
with their sewing, and Will, back of mother's chair, ten- 
derly smoothing the hair from her brow, while he related 
spiritedly some new escapade of Turk. Suddenly he 
checked his narrative, listened for a space, and announced: 

''There are some men riding on the road toward the 
house. We'd better be ready for trouble." 

Mother, equal to every emergency, hurriedly disposed 
her slender forces for defense. Martha and Julia were 
directed to help father to bed ; that done, to repair to the 
unfurnished front room above stairs; Will was instructed 
to call the hired man and Jane, who was almost as large 
and quite as strong as the average man; and the three 
were armed and given their cue. They were all handy with 
their weapons, but mother sought to win by strategy, if 
possible. She bade the older girls don heavy boots, and 
gave them further instructions. By this time the horsemen 
had reached the gate. Their leader was the redoubtable 
Justice Sharpe. He rode up to the door, and rapped with 
the but of his riding-whip. Mother threw up the window 

"Who's there? and what do you want?" she demanded. 

*'We want that old abolition husband of yours, and, 
dead or alive, we mean to have him!" 

"All right, Mr. Sharpe," was the steady answer. "I'll 
ask Colonel Lane and his men to wait on you." 

The hired man, who had served in the Mexican War, 
here gave a sharp word of command, which was responded 
to by trampling of heavy boots upon the bare floor. Then, 



calling a halt, the pretended Colonel Lane advanced to the 
window, and shouted to the horsemen: 

"Set foot inside that gate and my men will fire on 
you ! 

,Sharpe, an arrant coward, had retreated at the first 
sound of a man's voice, and after a short parley with his 
nonplused companions, he led them away — outwitted by 
a woman. 

As a sort of consolation prize, Sharpe again made off 
with Prince ; but Will's sorrow in the morning was short- 
lived, for the sagacious little creature slipped his halter and 
came flying home before the forenoon was half spent. 

After this experience, father decided that, for our sakes 
as well as for his own, he must again leave home, and as 
soon as he recovered a measure of his strength he went to 
Grasshopper Falls, thirty-five miles west of Leavenworth. 
Here he erected a sawmill, and hoped that he had put so 
many miles between him and his enemies that he might be 
allowed to pursue a peaceful occupation. He made us 
occasional visits, so timing his journey that he reached 
home after nightfall, and left again before the sun was up. 

One day when we were looking forward to one of these 
visits, our good friend Mr. Hathaway made his appearance 
about eleven o'clock. 

''It is too bad to be the bearer of ill tidings," said he, 
''but the news of your husband's expected visit has been 
noised about in some way, and another plot to kill him is 
afoot. Some of his enemies are camped at Big Stranger's 
Creek, and intend to shoot him as he passes there." 

Then followed a long and anxious consultation, which 
ended without any plan of rescue. 

All of which had been overheard by Will, who was con- 
fined to his bed with an attack of ague. In him, he 



decided, lay the only hope for father's safety; so, dressing, 
he presented his fever-flushed face to mother. As he held 
out a handkerchief, ''Tie it tight around my head, mother," 
said he; "then it won't ache so hard." 

A remonstrance against his getting out of bed brought 
out the fact that he contemplated riding to Grasshopper 

He was almost too weak to stand, a storm threatened, 
and thirty miles lay between him and father; yet he was 
not to be dissuaded from his undertaking. So Julia and 
Martha saddled Prince and helped the ague-racked courier 
to his saddle. ' 

The plunge into the open air and the excitement of the 
start encouraged Will to believe that he could hold out. 
As he settled down to his long, hard ride he reflected that 
it was not yet noon, and that father would not set out until . 
late in the day. Prince seemed to discern that something 
extraordinary was afoot, and swung along at a swift, steady 
gait. i 

Big Stranger's Creek cut the road half-way to the Falls, ] 
and Will approached it before the afternoon was half gone. 
The lowering sky darkened the highway, and he hoped to • 
pass the ambush unrecognized; but as he came up to the j 
stream he made out a camp and campers, one of whom ^ 
called out carelessly to him as he passed : j 

"Are you all right on the goose?" — the cant phrase of 'i 
the pro-slavery men. | 

"Never rode a goose in my life, gentlemen," was the 
reply. j 

"That's Cody's boy!" shouted another voice; and the 
word "Halt!" rang out just as Will had galloped safely ; 
past the camp. J 

Will's answer was to drive the spurs into Prince \ 





and dart ahead, followed by a rain of bullets. He 
was now well out of range, and the pony still strong and 

The chase was on, and in the thrill of it Will forgot his 
weakness. A new strength came with the rush of air and 
the ring of hoofs, and "I'll reach the Falls in time!" was 
his heartening thought, as pursurer and pursued sped 
through the forests, clattered over bridges, and galloped 
up hill and down. 

Then broke the long-impending storm, and the hard 
road became the bed of a muddy stream. The pursuit was 
abandoned, and this stimulus removed. Will felt the chills 
and weakness coming on again. He was drenched to the 
skin, and it was an effort to keep his saddle, but he set 
his teeth firmly in his resolve to accomplish his heroic 

At last ! A welcome light gleamed between the crystal 
bars of the rain. His mission was accomplished. 

His ride had been longer by ten miles than that famous 
gallop of the friend of his after years — Phil Sheridan. Like 
Sheridan, he reached the goal in time, for father was just 
mounting his horse. 

But the ride proved too much for his strength, and 
Will collapsed. Father started with him, a few days later, 
for Topeka, which was headquarters for the Free State 

Father acquainted mother of their safety, and explained 
that he had gone to Topeka because he feared his life was 
no longer safe at Grasshopper Falls. 

Party strife in Kansas was now at its height. Thou- 
sands came into the territory from adjacent slave states 
simply to vote, and the pro-slavery party elected a legis- 
lature, whose first meeting was held at Le Compton. This 



election the Free Soilers declared illegal, because of frau- 
dulent voting, and assembling at Topeka in the winter of 
1855-56, they framed a constitution excluding slavery, and 
organized a rival government. Of this first Free-Soil 
Legislature father was a member. 

Thenceforth war was the order of the day, and in the 
fall of 1856 a military governor was appointed, with full 
authority to maintain law and order in Kansas. 

Recognizing the good work effected by the emigrant- 
aid societies, and realizing that in a still larger Northern 
emigration to Kansas lay the only hope of its admission as 
a free state, father went to Ohio in the following spring, to 
labor for the salvation of the territory he had chosen for 
his home. Here his natural gift of oratory had free play, 
and as the result of his work on the stump he brought back 
to Kansas sixty families, the most of whom settled in the 
vicinity of Grasshopper Falls, now Valley Falls. 

This meant busy times for us, for with that magnificent 
disregard for practical matters that characterizes many men 
of otherwise great gifts, father had invited each separate 
family to make headquarters at his home until other 
arrangements could be perfected. As a result, our house 
overflowed, while the land about us was dotted with tents; 
but these melted away, as one by one the families selected 
claims and put up cabins. 

Among the other settlers was Judge Delahay, who, 
with his family, located at Leavenworth, and began the 
publishing of the first abolition newspaper in Kansas. The 
appointing of the military governor was the means of 
restoring comparative tranquillity; but hundreds of out- 
rages were committed, and the judge and his newspaper 
came in for a share of suffering. The printing-office was 
broken into, and the type and press thrown into the Mis- 



souri River. Undaunted, the judge procured a new 
press, and the paper continued. 

A semi-quiet now reigned in the territory; father 
resumed work at the sawmill, and we looked forward to a 
peaceful home and the joy of being once more perma- 
nently united. But it was not to be. The knife wound 
had injured father's lung. With care and nursing it might 
have healed, but constant suffering attended on the life 
that persecution had led him, and in the spring of '57 
he again came home, and took to his bed for the last 

All that could be was done, but nothing availed. After 
a very short illness he passed away — one of the first mar- 
tyrs in the cause of freedom in Kansas. 

The land of his adoption became his last, long resting- 
place. His remains now lie on Pilot Knob, which over- 
looks the beautiful city of Leavenworth. His death was 
regretted even by his enemies, who could not help but 
grant a tribute of respect to a man who had been upright, 
just, and generous to friend and foe. 



At this sorrowful period mother was herself almost at ^ 
death's door with consumption, but far from sinking under j 
the blow, she faced the new conditions with a steadfast : 
calm, realizing that should she, too, be taken, her children j 
would be left without a protector, and at the mercy of the ; 
enemies whose malignity had brought their father to an - 
untimely end. Her indomitable will opposed her bodily j 
weakness. "I will not die," she told herself, until the 
welfare of my children is assured." She was needed, for i 
our persecution continued. ] 

Hardly was the funeral over when a trumped-up claim \ 
for a thousand dollars, for lumber and supplies, was entered ] 
against our estate. Mother knew the claim was fictitious, \ 
as all the bills had been settled, but the business had been ^ 
transacted through the agency of Uncle Elijah, and father ]_ 
had neglected to secure the receipts. In those bitter, \ 
troublous days it too often happened that brother turned ] 
against brother, and Elijah retained his fealty to his party ^ 
at the expense of his dead brother's family. ] 

This fresh affliction but added fuel to the flame of ; 
mother's energy. Our home was paid for, but father's*^; 
business had been made so broken and irregular that our -J 
financial resources were of the slenderest, and should this j 
unjust claim for a thousand dollars be allowed, we would j 
be homeless. | 

30 I 


The result of mother's study of the situation was, "If 
I had the ready money, I should fight the claim." 

''You fight the claim, and I'll get the money," Will 

Mother smiled, but Will continued : 

"Russell, Majors & Waddell will give me work. Jim 
Willis says I am capable of filling the position of 'extra.' 
If you'll go with me and ask Mr. Majors for a job, I'm 
sure he'll give me one." 

Russell, Majors & Waddell were overland freighters and 
contractors, with headquarters at Leavenworth. To Will's 
suggestion mother entered a demurrer, but finally yielded 
before his insistence. Mr. Majors had known father, and 
was more than willing to aid us, but Will's youth was an 
objection not lightly overridden. 

"What can a boy of your age do?" he asked, kindly. 

"I can ride, shoot, and herd cattle," said Will; "but 
I'd rather be an 'extra' on one of your trains.' 

"But that is a man's work, and is dangerous besides." 
Mr. Majors hesitated. "But I'll let you try it one trip, 
and if you do a man's work, I'll give you a man's pay." 

So Will's name was put on the company roll, and he 
signed a pledge that illustrates better than a description the 
character and disposition of Mr. Majors. 

"I, William F. Cody," it read, "do hereby solemnly 
swear, before the great and living God, that during my 
engagement with, and while I am in the employ of, Rus- 
sell, Majors & Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, 
use profane language, that I will not quarrel or fight with 
any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I 
will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and 
so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my 
employers. So help me Godl" 



Mr. Majors employed many wild and reckless men, but] 
the language of the pledge penetrated to the better nature! 
of them all. They endeavored, with varying success, to 
live up to its conditions, although most of them held that; 
driving a bull-team constituted extenuating circumstances 
for an occasional expletive. 

The pledge lightened mother's heart; she knew that; 
Will would keep his word ; she felt, too, that a man that 
required such a pledge of his employees was worthy of their 
confidence and esteem. 

The train was to start in a day, and all of us were busy 
with the preparations for Will's two months' trip. The 
moment of parting came, and it was a trying ordeal for 
mother, so recently bereaved of husband. Will sought to 
soothe her, but the younger sisters had better success, for 
with tears in our eyes we crowded about him, imploring 
him to ''run if he saw any Indians." 

'Tis but a step from tears to smiles; the situation was 
relieved, and Will launched his life bark amid adieus of 
hope and confidence and love. His fortitude lasted only 
till he was out of sight of the house; but youth is elastic, 
the plains lay before him, and mother and sisters were to 
be helped ; so he presented a cheerful face to his employers. 

That night the bed of the ''boy extra" was a blanket 
under a wagon ; but he slept soundly, and was ready when 
the train started with the dawn. 

The "bull-train" took its name from the fact that each 
of the thirty-five wagons making up a full train was hauled 
by several yoke of oxen, driven by one man, known as a 
bullwhacker. This functionary's whip cracked like a rifle, 
and could be heard about as far. The wagons resembled 
the ordinary prairie-schooner, but were larger and more 
strongly built ; they were protected from the weather by a 



double covering of heavy canvas, and had a freight capacity 
of seven thousand pounds. 

Besides the bullwhackers there were cavallard drivers 
(who cared for the loose cattle), night herders, and sundry 
extra hands, all under the charge of a chief wagon-master, 
termed the wagon-boss, his lieutenants being the boss of 
the cattle train and the assistant wagon-master. The men 
were disposed in messes, each providing its own wood and 
water, doing its own cooking, and washing up its own tin 
dinner service, while one man in each division stood guard. 
Special duties were assigned to the "extras," and Will's 
was to ride up and down the train delivering orders. This 
suited his fancy to a dot, for the oxen were snail-gaited, 
and to plod at their heels was dull work. Kipling tells us 
it is quite impossible to ''hustle the East" ; it were as easy, 
as Will discovered, to hustle a bull-train. 

From the outset the ''boy extra" was a favorite with 
the men. They liked his pluck in undertaking such work, 
and when it was seen that he took pride in executing orders 
promptly, he became a favorite with the bosses as well. 
In part his work was play to him ; he welcomed an order as 
a break in the monotony of the daily march, and hailed the 
opportunity of a gallop on a good horse. 

The world of Will's fancy was bounded by the hazy 
rim where plain and sky converge, and when the first day's 
journey was done, and he had staked out and cared for his 
horse, he watched with fascinated eyes the strange and 
striking picture limned against the black hills and the 
sweeping stretch of darkening prairie. Everything was 
animation ; the bullwhackers unhitching and disposing of 
their teams, the herders staking out the cattle, and — not 
the least interesting — the mess cooks preparing the evening 
meal at the crackling camp-fires, with the huge, canvas- 



covered wagons encircling them like ghostly sentinels; the 
ponies and oxen blinking stupidly as the flames stampeded 
the shadows in which they were enveloped; and more 
weird than all, the buckskin-clad bullwhackers, squatted 
around the fire, their beards glowing red in its light, their 
faces drawn in strange black and yellow lines, while the 
spiked grasses shot tall and sword-like over them. 

It was wonderful — that first night of the *'boy extra." 

But Will discovered that life on the plains is not all a 
supper under the stars when the sparks fly upward ; it 
has its hardships and privations. There were days, as the 
wagons dragged their slow lengths along, when the clouds 
obscured the sky and the wind whistled dismally; days 
when torrents fell and swelled the streams that must be 
crossed, and when the mud lay ankle-deep; days when the 
cattle stampeded, and the round-up meant long, extra hours 
of heavy work; and, hardest but most needed work of all, 
the eternal vigil 'gainst an Indian attack. 

Will did not share the anxiety of his companions. To 
him a brush with Indians would prove that boyhood's 
dreams sometimes come true, and in imagination he antici- 
pated the glory of a first encounter with the "noble red 
man," after the fashion of the heroes in the hair-lifting 
Western tales he had read. He was soon to learn, as many 
another has learned, that the Indian of real life is vastly 
different from the Indian of fiction. He refuses to *'bite 
the dust" at sight of a paleface, and a dozen of them have 
been known to hold their own against as many white men. 

Some twenty miles west of Fort Kearny a halt was 
made for dinner at the bank of a creek that emptied into 
the Platte River. No signs of Indians had been observed, 
and there was no thought of special danger. Neverthe- 
less, three men were constantly on guard. Many of the 



trainmen were asleep under the wagons while waiting din- 
ner, and Will was watching the maneuvers of the cook in 
his mess. Suddenly a score of shots rang out from the 
direction of a neighboring thicket, succeeded by a chorus 
of savage yells. 

, Will saw the three men on the lookout drop in their 
Itracks, and saw the Indians divide, one wing stampeding 
the cattle, the other charging down upon the camp. 

The trainmen were old frontiersmen, and although taken 
wholly by surprise, they lined up swiftly in battle array 
behind the wagons, with the bosses, Bill and Frank Mc- 
Carthy, at their head, and the ''boy extra" under the 
direction of the wagon-master. 

A well-placed volley of rifle-balls checked the Indians, 
and they wheeled and rode away, after sending in a scatter- 
ing cloud of arrows, which wounded several of the train- 
men. The decision of a hasty council of war was, that a 
defensive stand would be useless, as the Indians outnum- 
bered the whites ten to one, and red reinforcements were 
constantly coming up, until it seemed to Will as if the 
prairie were alive with them. The only hope of safety lay 
in the shelter of the creek's high bank, so a run was made 
for it. The Indians charged again, with the usual accom- 
paniment of whoops, yells, and flying arrows; but the 
trainmen had reached the creek, and from behind its natural 
breastwork maintained a rifle fire that drove the foe back 
out of range. 

To follow the creek and river to Fort Kearny was not 
accounted much of a chance for escape, but it was the only 
avenue that lay open: so, with a parting volley to deceive 
the besiegers into thinking that the fort was still held, the 
perilous and difficult journey was begun. 

The Indians quickly penetrated the ruse, and another 



charge had to be repulsed. Besides the tiresome work ol 
wading, there were wounded men to help along, and a 
ceaseless watch to keep against another rush of the reds. 
It was a trying ordeal for a man, doubly so for a boy like 
Will; but he was encouraged to coolness and endurance by 
a few words from Frank McCarthy, who remarked, admir- 
ingly, ''Well, Billy, you didn't scare worth a cent." 

After a few miles of wading the little party issued out 
upon the Platte River. By this time the wounded men 
were so exhausted that a halt was called to improvise a 
raft. On this the sufferers were placed, and three or four 
men detailed to shove it before them. In consideration of 
his youth. Will was urged to get upon the raft, but he 
declined, saying that he was not wounded, and that if the 
stream got too deep for him to wade, he could swim. 
This was more than some of the men could do, and they, 
too, had to be assisted over the deep places. 

Thus wore the long and weary hours away, and though 
the men, who knew how hard a trip it was, often asked, 
"How goes it, Billy?" he uttered no word of complaint. 

But half a day's wading, without rest or food, gradually 
weighted his heels, and little by little he lagged behind his 
companions. The moon came out and silvered tree and 
river, but the silent, plodding band had no eyes for the 
glory of the landscape. 

Will had fallen behind some twenty rods, but in a 
moment fatigue was forgotten, the blood jumped in his 
veins, for just ahead of him the moonlight fell upon the 
feathered head-dress of an Indian chief, who was peering 
over the bank. Motionless, he watched the head, shoul-i 
ders, and body of the brave come into view. The Indiani 
supposed the entire party ahead, and Will made no move; 
until the savage bent his bow. 



Then he realized, with a thumping heart, that death 
nust come to one of his comrades or the Indian. 
* Even in direst necessity it is a fearful thing to deliber- 
ately take a human life, but Will had no time for hesita- 
' ion. There was a shot, and the Indian rolled down the 
^ )ank into the river. 

His expiring yell was answered by others. The reds 
vere not far away. Frank McCarthy, missing Will, sta- 
^ ioned guards, and ran back to look for him. He found 
' he lad hauling the dead warrior ashore, and seizing his 
Sand, cried out: ''Well done, my boy; you've killed your 
irst Indian, and done it like a man!" 

Will wanted to stop and bury the body, but being 
' Lssured that it was not only an uncustomary courtesy, but 
n this case quite, impossible, he hastened on. As they 
:ame up with the waiting group McCarthy called out : 

''Pards, little Billy has killed his first redskin!" 

The announcement was greeted with cheers, which 
grated on Will's ears, for his heart was sick, and the cheers 
;eemed strangely out of place. 

Little time, however, was afforded for sentiment of any 
)0rt. Enraged at the death of their scout, the Indians 
Tiade a final charge, which was repulsed, like the others, 
ind after this Bill McCarthy took the lead, with Frank at 
:he rear, to prevent further straggling of the forces. 

It was a haggard-faced band that came up to Fort 
Kearny with the dawn. The wounded men were left at 
;he post, while the others returned to the wrecked bull-train 
jnder escort of a body of troops. They hoped to make 
5ome salvage, but the cattle had either been driven away 
Dr had joined one of the numerous herds of buffalo; the 
wagons and their freight had been burned, and there was 
nothing to do but bury the three pickets, whose scalped 




and mutilated bodies were stretched where they had 

Then the troops and trainmen parted company, the 
former to undertake a bootless quest for the red marauders, 
the latter to return to Leavenworth, their occupation gone. 
The government held itself responsible for the depredations 
of its wards, and the loss of the wagons and cattle was 
assumed at Washington. 



The fame to which Byron woke one historic morning was 
no more unexpected to him than that which now greeted 
Will. The trainmen had not been over-modest in their 
accounts of his pluck; and when a newspaper reporter lent 
the magic of his imagination to the plain narrative, it 
became quite a story, headed in display type, "The Boy 
Indian Slayer." 

But Will was speedily concerned with other than his own 
affairs, for as soon as his position with the freighters was 
assured, mother engaged a lawyer to fight the claim against 
our estate. This legal light was John C. Douglass, then 
unknown, unhonored, and unsung, but talented and enter- 
prising notwithstanding. He had just settled in Leaven- 
worth, and he could scarcely have found a better case with 
which to storm the heights of fame — the dead father, the 
sick mother, the helpless children, and relentless persecu- 
tion, in one scale; in the other, an eleven-year-old boy 
doing a man's work to earn the money needed to combat 
the family's enemies. Douglass put his whole strength 
into the case. 

He knew as well as we that our cause was weak; it 
hung by a single thread — a missing witness, Mr. Barnhart. 
This man had acted as bookkeeper when the bills were 
paid, but he had been sent away, and the prosecution — or 
persecution — had thus far succeeded in keeping his where- 




abouts a secret. To every place where he was likely to be 
Lawyer Douglass had written ; but we were as much in the 
dark as ever when the morning for the trial of the suit 

The case had excited much interest, and the court-room 
was crowded, many persons having been drawn thither by 
a curiosity to look upon ''The Boy Indian Slayer." There 
was a cheerful unanimity of opinion upon the utter hope- 
lessness of the Cody side of the case. Not only were 
prominent and wealthy men arrayed against us, but our 
young and inexperienced lawyer faced the heaviest legal 
guns of the Leavenworth bar. Our only witnesses were a 
frail woman and a girl of eighteen, though by their side, 
with his head held high, was the family protector, our 
brave young brother. Against us were might and malignity ; 
upon our side, right and the high courage with which 
Christianity steels the soul of a believer. Mother had 
faith that the invisible forces of the universe were fighting 
for our cause. 

She and Martha swore to the fact that all the bills had 
been settled; and after the opposition had rested its case, 
Lawyer Douglass arose for the defense. His was a mag- 
nificent plea for the rights of the widow and the orphan, and 
was conceded to be one of the finest speeches ever heard 
in a Kansas court-room ; but though all were moved by 
our counsel's eloquence — some unto tears by the pathos of 
it — though the justice of our cause was freely admitted 
throughout the court-room, our best friends feared the 

But the climax was as stunning to our enemies as it 
was unexpected. As Lawyer Douglass finished his last 
ringing period, the missing witness, Mr. Barnhart, hurried 
into the court-room. He had started for Leavenworth 



upon the first intimation that his presence there was needed, 
and had reached it just in time. He took the stand, swore 
to his certain knowledge that the bills in question had been 
paid, and the jury, without leaving their seats, returned a 
verdict for the defense. 

Then rose cheer upon cheer, as our friends crowded 
about us and offered their congratulations. Our home was 
saved, and Lawyer Douglass had won a reputation for 
eloquence and sterling worth that stood undimmed through 
all his long and prosperous career. 

The next ripple on the current of our lives was sister 
Martha's wedding day. Possessed of remarkable beauty, 
she had become a belle, and as young ladies were scarce in 
Kansas at that time, she was the toast of all our country 
round. But her choice had fallen on a man unworthy of 
her. Of his antecedents we knew nothing; of his present 
life little more, save that he was fair in appearance and 
seemingly prosperous. In the sanction of the union Will 
stood aloof. Joined to a native intuition were the 
sharpened faculties of a lad that lived beyond his years. 
Almost unerring in his insight, he disliked the object of our 
sister's choice so thoroughly that he refused to be a witness 
of the nuptials. This dislike we attributed to jealousy, as 
brother and sister worshiped each other, but the sequel 
proved a sad corroboration of his views. 

Nature seemed to join her protest to Will's silent 
antagonism. A terrific thunder-storm came up with the 
noon hour of the wedding. So deep and sullen were the 
clouds that we were obliged to light the candles. When 
the wedding pair took their places before Hymen's altar, 
a crash of thunder rocked the house and set the casements 

The couple had their home awaiting them in Leaven- 



worth, and departed almost immediately after the cere- 

The cares and responsibilities laid upon our brother's 
shoulders did not quench his boyish spirits and love of fun. 
Not Buffalo Bill's! He gave us a jack-o'-lantern scare 
once upon a time, which I don't believe any of us will ever 
forget. We had never seen that weird species of pump- 
kin, and Will embroidered a blood-and-thunder narra- 

''The pumpkins all rise up out of the ground," said: 
'he, "on fire, with the devil's eyes, and their mouths open, 
like blood-red lions, and grab you, and go under the earth/ 
You better look out!" 

''That ain't so!" all of us little girls cried; "you know 
it's a fib. Ain't it, mother?" and we ran as usual to 

"Will, you mustn't tell the children such tales. Of • 
course they're just fibs," said mother. 

"So there!" we cried, in triumph. But Will had a; 
"so there" answer for us a few nights later. We were! 
coming home late one evening, and found the gate guarded J 
by mad-looking yellow things, all afire, and grinning hide- | 
ously like real live men in the moon dropped down from j 
the sky. • 

"Jack-o'-lanterns!" screamed Eliza, grabbing May by i 
the hand, and starting to run. I began to say my prayers, ] 
of course, and cry for mother. All at once the heads j 
moved! Even Turk's tail shot between his legs, and he \ 
howled in fright. We saw the devil's eyes, the blood-red ] 
lion's mouths, and all the rest, and set up such a chorus, 
of wild yells that the whole household rushed to our rescue. 
While we were panting out our story, we heard Will snick- ; 
ering behind the door. 




''So there, smarties! You'll believe what I tell you 
next time. You bet — ter — had!" 
[ But he liked best to invade our play-room and 'Svork 
I magic" on our dolls. Mother had set aside one apartment 
I in our large log house for a play-room, and here each one 
I of our doll families dwelt in peace and harmony, when 
Will wasn't around. But there was tragedy whenever he 
I came near. He would scalp the mother dolls, and tie their 
babies to the bedposts, and would storm into their paste- 
board-box houses at night, after we had fixed them all in 
order, and put the families to standing on their heads. He 
was a dreadful tease. It was in this play-room that the 
germ of his Wild West took life. He formed us into a 
regular little company — Turk and the baby, too — and would 
start us in marching order for the woods. He made us 
stick horses and wooden tomahawks, spears, and horsehair 
I strings, so that we could be cowboys, Indians, bullwhack- 
I ers, and cavalrymen. All the scenes of his first freighting 
I trip were acted out in the woods of Salt Creek Valley. 
I We had stages, robbers, * 'hold-ups," and most ferocious 
Indian battles. 

Will was always the "principal scalper," however, and 
we had few of our feathers left after he was on the war- 
: path. We were so little we couldn't reach his feathers. 
He always wore two long shiny ones, which had been the 
special pride of our black rooster, and when he threw a 
piece of an old blanket gotten from the Leavenworth bar- 
racks around his shoulders, we considered • him a very fine 
general indeed. 

All of us were obedient to the letter on "show days," 
and scarcely ever said "Now, stop," or "Til tell mother 
on you!" But during one of these exciting performances 
Will came to a short stop. 


"I believe I'll run a show when I get to be a man,"^ 
said he. 

''That fortune lady said you'd got to be President of 
the United States," said Eliza. 

''How could ze presiman won a show?" asked May. 

"How could that old fortune-teller know what I'm 
going to be?" Will would answer, disdainfully. "I rather 
guess I can have a show, in spite of all the fortune-tellers' 
in the country. I'll tell you right now, girls, I don't 
propose to be President, but I do mean to have a; 

Such temerity in disputing one's destiny was appalling; 
and though our ideas of destiny were rather vague, we 
could grasp one dreadful fact: Will had refused to be 
President of the United States! So we ran crying to; 
mother, and burying our faces in her lap, sobbed out: 
"Oh, mother! Will says he ain't going to be President.: 
Don't he have to be?" • j 

Still, in spite of Will's fine scorn of fortune-tellers, thej 
prophecy concerning his future must have been sometimes' 
in his mind. This was shown in an episode that the writer 
is in duty bound, as a veracious chronicler, to set down. 

Our neighbor, Mr. Hathaway, had a son, Eugene, of 
about Will's age, and the two were fast friends. One day, 
when Will was visiting at Eugene's house, the boys intro- 
duced themselves to a barrel of hard cider. Temperance 
sentiment had not progressed far enough to bring hard 
cider under the ban, and Mr. Hathaway had lately pressed 
out a quantity of the old-fashioned beverage. The boys, 
supposing it a harmless drink, took all they desired — much 
more than they could carry. They were in a deplorable 
condition when Mr. Hathaway found them; and much 




distressed, the good old man put Eugene to bed and 
brought Will home. 

The family hero returned to us with a flourish of trum- 
pets. He stood up in the wagon and sang and shouted ; 
and when Mr. Hathaway reproved him, ''Don't talk to 
me," was his lofty rejoinder. ''You forget that I am to 
be President of the United States." 

There is compensation for everything. Will never 
touched cider again ; and never again could he lord it over 
his still admiring but no longer docile sisters. If he under- 
took to boss or tease us more than to our fancy, we would 
subdue him with an imitation of his grandiloquent, "You 
forget that I am to be President of the United States." 
Indeed, so severe was this retaliation that we seldom saw 
him the rest of the day. 

But he got even with us when "preacher day" came 

Like "Little Breeches' " father. Will never did go in 
much on religion, and when the ministers assembled for 
''quarterly meeting" at our house, we never knew what to 
expect from him. Mother was a Methodist, and as our 
log house was larger than the others in the valley, it fell to 
our lot to entertain the preachers often. We kept our 
preparations on the quiet when Will was home, but he 
always managed to find out what was up, and then trouble 
began. His first move was to "sick" Turk on the yellow- 
legged chickens. They were our best ones, and the only 
thing we had for the ministers to eat. Then Will would 
come stalking in : 

"Say, mother, just saw all the yellow-legged chickens 
a-scooting up the road. Methodist preachers must be in 
the wind, for the old hens are flying like sixty!" 



"Now, Will, you call Turk off, and round up those 
chickens right away." 

Catch meself!" And Will would dance around and 
tease so he nearly drove us all distracted. It was with the 
greatest difficulty that mother could finally prevail upon 
him to round up the chickens. That done, he would tie up 
the pump-handle, milk the cows dry, strew the path to the 
gate with burrs and thistles, and stick up a sign, ''Thorney 
is the path and stickery the way that leedith unto the] 
kingdom of heaven. Amen!" ! 

Then when mother had put a nice clean valance, freshly ; 
starched and ruffled, around the big four-poster bed in the 
sitting-room, Will would daub it up with smearcase, and j 
just before the preachers arrived, sneak in under it, and \ 
wait for prayers. \ 

Mother always desired us to file in quietly, but we | 
couldn't pass the bed without our legs being pinched; sol 
we "hollered," but were afraid to tell mother the reason i 
before the ministers. We had to bear it, but we snickered \ 
ourselves when the man Will called "Elder Green Persim- \ 
mon," because when he prayed his mouth went inside out, : 
came mincing into the room, and as he passed the valance ; 
and got a pinch, jerked out a sour-grape sneeze: i 

"Mercy on us! I thought I was bitten by that fierce; 
dog of yours, Mrs. Cody; but it must have been a burr." ; 

Then the "experiences'* would begin. Will always i 
listened quietly, until the folks began telling how wicked '■• 
they had been before they got religion ; then he would ■ 
burst in with a vigorous "Amen!" 

The elders did not know Will's voice; so they would ^ 
get warmed up by degree as the amens came thicker and ; 
faster. When he had worked them all up to a red-hot ; 

pitch. Will would start that awful snort of his that always ■ 





made us double up with giggles, and with a loud cockle- 
doodle-doo ! would bolt from the bed like a lightning flash 
and make for the window. 

So ''preacher day," as Will always called it, became the 
torment of our lives. • 

To tell the truth, Will always was teasing us, but if he 
crooked his finger at us we would bawl. We bawled and 
squalled from morning till night. Yet we fairly worshiped 
him, and cried harder when he went away than when he 
was home. 



Will was not long at home. The Mormons, who were 
settled in Utah, rebelled when the government, objecting 
to the quality of justice meted out by Brigham Young, sent 
a federal judge to the ter'ritory. Troops, under the com- 
mand of General Albert Sidney Johnston, were dispatched 
to quell the insurrection, and Russell, Majors & Waddell 
contracted to transport stores and beef cattle, to the army 
massing against the Mormons in the fall of 1857. The train 
was a large one, better prepared against such an attack as 
routed the McCarthy brothers earlier in the summer; yet 
its fate was the same. 

Will was assigned to duty as "extra" under Lew Simp- 
son, an experienced wagon-master, and was subject to his 
orders only. There was the double danger of Mormons 
and Indians, so the pay was good. Forty dollars a month 
in gold looked like a large sum to an eleven-year-old. 

Will's second departure was quite as tragic as the first. 
We girls, as before, were loud in our wailings, and offered- 
to forgive him the depredations in the doll-house and all 
his teasings, if only he would not go away and be scalped 
by the Indians. Mother said little, but her anxious look, 
as she recalled the perils of the former trip, spoke volumes. 
He carried with him the memory of the open-mouthed 
admiration of little Charlie, to whom Brother Will' * was? 
the greatest hero in the world. Turk's grief at the parting ^ 

48 ; 




was not a whit less than ours, and the faithful old fellow 
seemed to realize that in Will's absence the duty of the 
family protector devolved on him ; so he made no attempt 
to follow Will beyond the gate. 

The train made good progress, and more than half the 
journey to Fort Bridger was accomplished without a set- 
back. When the Rockies were reached, a noon halt was 
made near Green River, and here the men were surrounded 
and overcome by a large force of Danites, the ''Avenging 
Angels" of the Mormon Church, who had ''stolen the 
livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in." These 
were responsible for the atrocious Mountain Meadow Mas- 
sacre, in June of this same year, though the wily "Saints" 
had planned to place the odium of an unprovoked murder 
of innocent women and children upon the Indians, who 
had enough to answer for, and in this instance were but 
the tools of the Mormon Church. Brigham Young repudi- 
ated his accomplice, and allowed John D. Lee to become 
the scapegoat. The dying statement of this man is as 
pathetic as Cardinal Wolsey's arraignment of Henry VIIL 

"A victim must be had," said he, "and I am that vic- 
tim. For thirty years I studied to make Brigham Young's 
will my law. See now what I have come to this day. 
1 have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. 
I do not fear death. I cannot go to a worse place than I 
am now in." 

John D. Lee deserved his fate, but Brigham Young was 
none the less a coward. 

The Danites spared the lives of the trainmen, but they 
made sad havoc of the supplies. These they knew to be 
intended for the use of the army opposed to Brigham 
Young. They carried off all the stores they could handle, 
drove with them or stampeded the cattle, and burned the 



wagons. The trainmen were permitted to retain one 
wagon and team, with just enough supplies to last them to 
army headquarters. 

It was a disheartened, discomfited band that reached 
Fort Bridger. The information that two other trains had 
been destroyed added to their discouragement, for that, 
meant that they, in common with the other trainmen and 
the soldiers at the fort, must subsist on short rations for 
the winter. There were nearly four hundred of these train-i 
men, and it was so late in the season that they had no 
choice but to remain where they were until spring opened.; 

It was an irksome winter. The men at the fort hauled 
their firewood two miles; as the provisions dwindled, one 
by one the oxen were slaughtered, and when this food sup- 
ply was exhausted, starvation reared its gaunt form. Hap- 
pily the freighters got word of the situation, and a relief 
team reached the fort before the spring was fairly opened. 

As soon as practicable the return journey was under- 
taken. At Fort Laramie two large trains were put m 
charge of Lew Simpson, as brigade wagon-master, and Will; 
was installed as courier between the two caravans, which 
traveled twenty miles apart — plenty of elbow room fori 
camping and foraging. | 

One morning, Simpson, George Woods, and Will, who-; 
were in the rear train, set out for the forward one, mounted ; 
upon mules, and armed, as the trainmen always were, with ; 
rifle, knife, and a brace of revolvers. About half of the i 
twenty miles had been told off when the trio saw a band of ] 
Indians emerge from a clump of trees half a mile away and . 
sweep toward them. Flight with the mules was useless; ' 
resistance promised hardly more success, as the Indians i 
numbered a full half-hundred; but surrender was death and 
mutilation. i 


"Shoot the mules, boys!" ordered Simpson, and five 
I minutes later two men and a boy looked grimly over a still 
I palpitating barricade. 

The defense was simple; rifxes at range, revolvers for 
close quarters, knives at the last. The chief, easily distin- 
guished by his feathered head-dress, was assigned to Will. 
Already his close shooting was the pride of the frontiers- 
men. Simpson's coolness steadied the lad, who realized 
that the situation was desperate. 

The Indians came on with the rush and scream of the 
March wind. "Fire!" said Simpson, and three ponies 
galloped riderless as the smoke curled from three rifle 

Dismayed by the fall of their chief, the redskins wheeled 
and rode out of range. Will gave a sigh of relief. 

"Load up again, Billy!" smiled Simpson. "They'll 
soon be back." 

"They've only three or four rifles," said Woods. 
There had been little lead in the cloud of arrows. 

"Here they come!" warned Simpson, and the trio ran 
their rifles out over the dead mules. 

Three more riderless ponies; but the Indians kept on, 
supposing they had drawn the total fire of the whites. A 
revolver fusillade undeceived them, and the charging 
column wavered and broke for cover. 

Simpson patted Will on the shoulder as they reloaded. 
"You're a game one, Billy!" said he.^ 

"You bet he is," echoed Woods, coolly drawing an 
arrow from his shoulder. "How is that, Lew — poisoned?" 

Will waited breathless for the decision, and his relief 
was as great as Woods's when Simpson, after a critical 
scrutiny, answered "No." 

The wound was hastily dressed, and the little company 



gave an undivided attention to the foe, who were circling 
around their quarry, hanging to the off sides of their ponies 
and firing under them. With a touch of the grim humor 
that plain life breeds. Will declared that the mules 
were veritable pincushions, so full of arrows were they stuck. 

The besieged maintained a return fire, dropping pony 
after pony, and occasionally a rider. This proved expen- 
sive sport to the Indians, and the whole party finally with- 
drew from range. 

There was a long breathing spell, which the trio 
improved by strengthening their defense, digging up the 
dirt with their knives and piling it upon the mules. It was 
tedious work, but preferable to inactivity and cramped 

Two hours went by, and the plan of the enemy was 
disclosed. A light breeze arose, and the Indians fired the 
prairie. Luckily the grass near the trail was short, and 
though the heat was intense and the smoke stifling, the 
barricade held off the flame. Simpson had kept a close 
watch, and presently gave the order to fire. A volley went 
through the smoke and blaze, and the yell that followed 
proved that it was not wasted. This last ruse failing, the 
Indians settled down to their favorite game — waiting. 

A thin line of them circled out of range; ponies were 
picketed and tents pitched; night fell, and the stars shot,! 
out. j 

As Woods was wounded, he was excused from guard > 
duty. Will and Simpson keeping watch in turn. Will took i 
the first vigil, and, tired though he was, experienced no 
difficulty in keeping awake, but he went soundly to sleep 
the moment he was. relieved. He was wakened by a dream 
that Turk was barking to him, and vaguely alarmed, he sat; 
up to find Simpson sleeping across his rifle. ^ 



The midnight hush was unbroken, and the darkness lay 
thick upon the plain, but shapes blacker than night hovered 
near, and Will laid his hand on Simpson's shoulder. 

The latter was instantly alive, and Woods was wakened. 
A faint click went away on the night breeze, and a moment 
later three jets of flame carried warning to the up-creeping 
foe that the whites were both alive and on the alert. 

There was no more sleep within the barricade. The 
dawn grew into day, and anxious eyes scanned the trail for 
reinforcements — coming surely, but on what heavy and 
slow-turning wheels! 

Noon came and passed. The anxious eyes questioned 
one another. Had the rear train been overcome by a 
larger band of savages? But suddenly half a dozen of the 
Indians were seen to spring up with gestures of excite- 
ment, and spread the alarm around the circle. 

''They hear the cracking of the bull- whips," said 

The Indians who had seen the first team pass, and had 
assumed that Simpson and his companions were straggling 
members of it, did not expect another train so soon. 
There was ''mounting in hot haste," and the Indians rode 
away in one bunch for the distant foothills, just as the 
first ox-team broke into view. 

And never was there fairer picture to more appreciative 
eyes than those same lumbering, clumsy animals, and 
never sweeter music than the harsh staccato of the bull- 

When hunger was appeased, and Woods's wound prop- 
erly dressed. Will, for the second time, found himself a 
hero among the plainsmen. His nerve and coolness were 
dwelt upon by Simpson, and to the dream that waked him 
in season was ascribed the continued life on earth of the 



little company. Will, however, was disposed to allow 
Turk the full credit for the service. 

The remainder of the trip was devoid of special inci- 
dent, and as Will neared home he hurried on in advance of 
the train. His heart beat high as he thought of the dear 
faces awaiting him, unconscious that he was so near. 

But the home toward which he was hastening with beat- 
ing heart and winged heels was shadowed by a great grief. 
Sister Martha's married life, though brief, had amply justi- 
fied her brother's estimate of the man into whose hands she 
had given her life. She was taken suddenly ill, and it was 
not until several months later that Will learned that the 
cause of her sickness was the knowledge that had come to 
her of the faithless nature of her husband. The revelation 

was made through the visit of one of Mr. C 's creditors, 

who, angered at a refusal to liquidate a debt, accused Mr. 

C of being a bigamist, and threatened to set the law 

upon him. The blow was fatal to one of Martha's pure 
and affectionate nature, already crushed by neglect and 
cruelty. All that night she was delirious, and her one 
thought was "Willie," and the danger he was in — not 
alone the physical danger, but the moral and spiritual 
peril that she feared lay in association with rough and 
reckless men. She moaned and tossed, and uttered inco- 
herent cries; but as the morning broke the storm went] 
down, and the anxious watchers fancied that she slept. 
Suddenly she sat up, the light of reason again shining 
in her eyes, and with a joyous cry, *'Tell mother Willie's 
saved! Willie's saved!" she fell back on her pillow, and 
her spirit passed away. On her face was the peace that 
the world can neither give nor take away. The veil of the 
Unknown had been drawn aside for a space. She had 
"sent her soul through the Invisible," and it had found 



the light that lit the last weary steps through the Valley 
of the Shadow. 

Mr. C had moved from Leavenworth to Johnson 

County, twenty-five miles away, and as there were neither 
telegraph nor mail facilities, he had the body sent home, 
himself accompanying it. Thus our first knowledge of 
Martha's sickness came when her lifeless clay was borne 
across our threshold, the threshold that, less than a year 
before, she had crossed a bright and bonny bride. Dazed 
by the shock, we longed for Will's return before we must 
lay his idolized sister forever in her narrow cell. 

All of the family, Mr. C included, were gathered 

in the sitting-room, sad and silent, when Turk suddenly 
I raised his head, listened a second, and bounded out of 


i "Will is coming!" cried mother, and we all ran to the 
I door. Turk was racing up the long hill, at the top of 

which was a moving speck that the dog knew to be his 
i master. His keen ears had caught the familiar whistle half 

a mile away. 

When Turk had manifested his joy at the meeting, he 
, prepared Will for the bereavement that awaited him ; he 
put his head down and emitted a long and repeated wail. 
Will's first thought was for mother, and he fairly ran down 
the hill. The girls met him some distance from the house, 
and sobbed out the sad news. 

And when he had listened, the lad that had passed 
unflinching through two Indian fights, broke down, and 
sobbed with the rest of us. 

''Did that rascal, C , have anything to do with her 

death?" he asked, when the first passion of grief was over. 

Julia, who knew no better at the time, replied that Mr. 
C was the kindest of husbands, and was crushed with 



sorrow at his loss; but spite of the assurance, Will, when: 
he reached the house, had neither look nor word for him. \ 
He just put his arms about mother's neck, and mingled i 
his grief with her words of sympathy and love. 1 

Martha was shortly after laid by father's side, and as ! 
we stood weeping in that awful moment when the last i 
spadeful of earth completes the sepulture. Will, no longer \ 

master of himself, stepped up before Mr. C : ^ 

Murderer," he said, ''one day you shall answer to me ' 
for the death of her who lies there!" j 

When Will next presented himself at Mr. Majors's \ 
office, he was told that his services had been wholly satis- \ 
factory, and that he could have work at any time he desired, i 
This was gratifying, but a sweeter pleasure was to lay his j 
winter's wages in mother's lap. Through his help, and her • 
business ability, our pecuniary affairs were in good condi- \ 
tion. We were comfortably situated, and as Salt Creek \ 
Valley now boasted of a schoolhouse, mother wished Will ' 
to enter school. He was so young when he came West | 
that his school-days had been few; nor was the prospect of i 
adding to their number alluring. After the excitement of' 
life on the plains, going to school was dull work; but Will; 
realized that there was a world beyond the prairie's i 
horizon, and he entered school, determined to do honestj 
work. ! 

Our first teacher was of the good, old-fashioned sort. ; 
He taught because he had to live. He had no love for his ■ 
work, and knew nothing of children. The one motto he^ 
lived up to was, ''Spare the rod and spoil the child." As; 
Will was a regular Tartar in the schoolroom, he, more than ' 
all the other scholars, made him put his smarting theory '; 
into practice. Almost every afternoon was attended with: 
the dramatic attempt to switch Will. The schoolroom^ 



was separated into two grand divisions, ''the boys on teach- 
er's side," and those ''on the Cody side." The teacher 
would send his pets out to get switches, and part of our 
division — we girls, of course — would begin to weep ; while 
those who had spunk would spit on their hands, clench 
their fists, and "dare 'em to bring them switches in!" 
Those were hot times in old Salt Creek Valley ! 

One morning Turk, too, was seized with educational 
ambition, and accompanied Will to school. We tried to 
drive him home, but he followed at a distance, and as we 
entered the schoolhouse, he emerged from the shrubbery 
by the roadside and crept under the building. 

Alas for the scholars, and alas for the school ! Another 
ambitious dog reposed beneath the temple of learning. 

Will, about that time, was having a bad quarter of an 
hour. An examination into his knowledge, or lack of it, 
was under way, and he was hard pressed. Had he been 
asked how to strike a trail, locate water, or pitch a tent, 
his replies would have been full and accurate, but the 
teacher's queries seemed as foolish as the "Reeling and 
Writhing, Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Deri- 
sion" of the Mock Turtle in "Alice in Wonderland." 

Turk effected an unexpected rescue. Snarls were heard 
beneath the schoolhouse; then savage growls and yelps, 
while the floor resounded with the whacks of the canine 
combatants. With a whoop that would not have disgraced 
an Indian, Will was out of doors, shouting, "Eat him up, 
Turk! Eat him up!" 

The owner of the opposing dog was one Steve Gobel. 
'Twixt him and Will a good-sized feud existed. Steve was 
also on the scene, with a defiant, "Sic 'em. Nigger!" and 
the rest of the school followed in his wake. 

Of the twisting, yelping bundle of dog-flesh that rolled 



from under the schoolhouse it was difficult to say which 
was Turk and which Nigger. Eliza and I called to Turk, 
and wept because he would not hear. The teacher ordered 
the children back to their studies, but they were as deaf 
as Turk; whereat the enraged pedagogue hopped wildly 
about, flourishing a stick and whacking every boy that 
strayed within reach of it. 

Nigger soon had enough of the fight, and striking his 
tail-colors, fled yelping from the battle-ground. His mas- 
ter, Steve Gobel, a large youth of nineteen or twenty 
years, pulled off his coat to avenge upon Will the dog's 
defeat, but the teacher effected a Solomon-like compromise 
by whipping both boys for bringing their dogs to school, 
after which the interrupted session was resumed. 

But Gobel nursed his wrath, and displayed his enmity 
in a thousand small ways. Will paid no attention to him, 
but buckled down to his school work. Will was a born 
''lady's man," and when Miss Mary Hyatt complicated the 
feud 'twixt him and Steve, it hurried to its climax. Mary 
was older than Will, but she plainly showed her preference 
for him over Master Gobel. Steve had never distinguished 
himself in an Indian fight; he was not a hero, but just a 
plain boy. 

Now, indeed, was Wiirs life unendurable; "patience 
had had its perfect work." He knew that a boy of twelve, 
however strong and sinewy, was not a match for an almost 
full-grown man; so, to balance matters, he secreted on his 
person an old bowie-knife. When next he met Steve, the 
latter climaxed his bullying tactics by striking the object of 
his resentment; but he was unprepared for the sudden leap 
that bore him backward to the earth. Size and strength 
told swiftly in the struggle that succeeded, but Will, with 
a dextrous thrust, put the point of the bowie into the 



fleshy part of Steve's lower leg, a spot where he knew the 
cut would not be serious. 

The stricken bully shrieked that he was killed ; the chil- 
dren gathered round, and screamed loudly at the sight of 
blood. ''Will Cody has killed Steve Gobel!" was the 
wailing cry, and Will, though he knew Steve was but 
pinked, began to realize that frontier styles of combat 
were not esteemed in communities given up to the soberer 
pursuits of spelling, arithmetic, and history. Steve, he 
knew, was more frightened than hurt ; but the picture of 
the prostrate, ensanguined youth, and the group of awe- 
stricken children, bore in upon his mind the truth that his 
act was an infraction of the civil code; that even in self- 
defense, he had no right to use a knife unless his life was 

The irate pedagogue was hastening to the scene, and 
after one glance at him, Will incontinently fled. At the 
road he came upon a wagon train, and with a shout of joy 
recognized in the *'boss" John Willis, a wagon-master 
employed by Russell, Majors & Waddell, and a great frjend 
of the *'boy extra." Will climbed up behind Willis on 
his horse, and related his escapade to a close and sympa- 
thetic listener. 

''If you say so, Billy," was his comment, "I'll go over 
and lick the whole outfit, and stampede the school." 

"No, let the school alone," replied Will; "but I guess 
I'll graduate, if you'll let me go along with you this trip." 

Willis readily agreed, but insisted upon returning to the 
schoolhouse. "I'm not going," said he, "to let you be 
beaten by a bully of a boy, and a Yankee school-teacher, 
with a little learning, but not a bit of sand." His idea of 
equalizing forces was that he and "Little Billy" should 
fight against the pedagogue and Steve. 



Will consented, and they rode back to the schoolhouse, 
on the door of which Willis pounded with his revolver 
butt, and when the door was opened he invited Gobel and 
the ''grammar man" to come forth and do battle. But 
Steve had gone home, and the teacher, on seeing the two 
gladiators, fled, while the scholars, dismissing themselves, 
ran home in a fright. 

That night mother received a note from the teacher. 

He was not hired, he wrote, to teach desperadoes; 
therefore Will was dismissed. But Will had already dis- 
missed himself, and had rejoined the larger school whose 
walls are the blue bowl called the sky. And long after was 
his name used by the pedagogue to conjure up obedience 
in his pupils; unless they kissed the rod, they, too, might 
go to the bad, and follow in Will Cody's erring footsteps. 

Willis and Will had gone but a piece on the road when 
horsemen were seen approaching. 

''Mr. Gobel and the ofBcers are after me," said Will. 

"Being after you and gittin' you are two different 
things," said the wagon-master. "Lie low, and I'll settle 
the men." 

Mr. Gobel and his party rode up with the information 
that they had come to arrest Will ; but they got no satis- 
faction from Willis. He would not allow them to search 
the wagons, and they finally rode away. That night, when 
the camp was pitched, the wagon-master gave Will a mule, 
and accompanied him home. We were rejoiced to see him, 
especially mother, who was much concerned over his esca- 

"Oh, Will, how could you do such a thing?" she said, 
sorrowfully. "It is a dreadful act to use a knife on 
any one. 

Will disavowed any homicidal intentions; but his 



explanations made little headway against mother's disap- 
proval and her disappointment over the interruption of his 
school career. As it seemed the best thing to do, she 
consented to his going vi^ith the wagon train under the care 
of John Willis, and the remainder of the night was passed 
in preparations for the journey. 



This trip of Will's covered only two months, and was suc- 
ceeded by another expedition, to the new post at Fort 
Wallace, at Cheyenne Pass. 

Meanwhile mother had decided to improve the oppor- 
tunity afforded by her geographical position, and under 
her supervision ''The Valley Grove House" was go- 
ing up. i 

The hotel commanded a magnificent prospect. Below j 

lay the beautiful Salt Creek Valley. It derived its name i 

from the saline properties of the little stream that rushed ; 

along its pebbly bed to empty its clear waters into the ] 

muddy Missouri. From the vantage-ground of our loca- 5 

tion Salt Creek looked like a silver thread, winding its way ] 

through the rich verdure of the valley. The region was \ 

dotted with fertile farms; from east to west ran the gov- j 

ernment road, known as the Old Salt Lake Trail, and back j 

of us was Cody Hill, named for my father. Our house \ 

stood on the side hill, just above the military road, and ] 

between us and the hilltop lay the grove that gave the j 

hotel its name. Government hill, which broke the eastern ; 

sky-line, hid Leavenworth and the Missouri River, cul- ; 

minating to the south in Pilot Knob, the eminence on \ 

which my father was buried, also beyond our view. ■ 

Mother's business sagacity was justified in the hotel ) 

venture. The trail began its half-mile ascent of Cody Hill j 

6a • 



just below our house, and at this point the expedient 
known as doubling** was employed. Two teams hauled 
a wagon up the steep incline, the double team returning 
ifor the wagon left behind. Thus the progress of a wagon 
train, always slow, became a very snail's pace, and the 
hotel was insured a full quota of hungry trainmen. 

Will found that his wages were of considerable aid to 
mother in the large expense incurred by the building of 
|the hotel ; and the winter drawing on, forbidding further 
freighting trips, he planned an expedition with a party of 
trappers. More money was to be made at this business 
during the winter than at any other time. 

The trip was successful, and contained only one adven- 
ture spiced with danger, which, as was so often the case, 
Will twisted to his own advantage by coolness and presence 
jof mind. 

j One morning, as he was making the round of his traps, 
three Indians appeared on the trail, each leading a pony 
laden with pelts. One had a gun; the others carried bows 
and arrows. The odds were three to one, and the brave 
with the gun was the most to be feared. 

This Indian dropped his bridle-rein and threw up his 
rifle; but before it was at his shoulder Will had fired, and he 
fell forward on his face. His companions bent their bows, 
one arrow passing through Will's hat and another piercing 
his arm — the first wound he ever received. Will swung 
his cap about his head. 

''This way! Here they are!" he shouted to an imagi- 
nary party of friends at his back. Then with his revolver 
he wounded another of the Indians, who, believing rein- 
forcements were at hand, left their ponies and fled. 

Will took the ponies on the double-quick back to camp, 
and the trappers decided to pull up stakes at once. It had 



been a profitable season, and the few more pelts to be hac 
were not worth the risk of an attack by avenging Indians 
so they packed their outfit, and proceeded to Fort Laramie. 
Will realized a handsome sum from the sale of his cap- 
tured furs, besides those of the animals he had himseli 

At the fort were two men bound east, and impatient 
to set out, and Will, in his haste to reach home, joinec 
forces with them. Rather than wait for an uncertair 
wagon train, they decided to chance the dangers of the 
road. They bought three ponies and a pack-mule for the 
camp outfit, and sallied forth in high spirits. 

Although the youngest of the party. Will was the most 
experienced plainsman, and was constantly on the alert. 
They reached the Little Blue River without sign of Indians, 
but across the stream Will espied a band of them. The 
redskins were as keen of eye, and straightway exchanged 
the pleasures of the chase for the more exciting pursuit ol 
human game. But they had the river to cross, and this 
gave the white men a good start. The pursuit was hot, 
and grew hotter, but the kindly darkness fell, and undei; 
cover of it the trio got safely away. That night the^ 
camped in a little ravine that afforded shelter from botli 
Indians and weather. 1 

A look over the ravine disclosed a cave that promised a 
snug harbor, and therein Will and one of his companions 
spread their blankets and fell asleep. The third man, 
whose duty it was to prepare the supper, kindled a fire just 
inside the cave, and returned outside for a supply of fuel.j 
When he again entered the cave the whole interior waa 
revealed by the bright firelight, and after one look he gavd 
a yell of terror, dropped his firewood, and fled. J 

Will and the other chap were on their knees instantlyi 



roping for their rifles, in the belief that the Indians were 
pon them ; but the sight that met their eyes was more 
error-breeding than a thousand Indians. A dozen bleached 
nd ghastly skeletons were gathered with them around the 
amp-fire, and seemed to nod and sway, and thrust their 
ong-chilled bones toward the cheery blaze. 

Ghastly as it was within the cave, Will found it more 
impleasant in the open. The night was cold, and a storm 

''Well," said he to his companions, ''we know the 
vorst that's in there now. Those old dead bones won't 
lurt us. Let's go back." 

"Not if I know myself, sonny," returned one of the 
nen decidedly, and the other heartily agreed with him, 
jwearing that as it was, he should not be able to close his 
lyes for a week. So, after a hurried lunch upon the cold 
provisions, the party mounted their ponies and pushed on. 
rhe promised snowstorm materialized, and shortly became 
I young blizzard, and obliged to dismount and camp in the 
Dpen prairie, they made a miserable night of it. 

But it had an end, as all things have, and with the 
Tiorning they resumed the trail, reaching Marysville, on 
:he Big Blue, after many trials and privations. 

From here the trail was easier, as the country was 
Dretty well settled, and Will reached home without further 
idventure or misadventure. Here there was compensation 
for hardship in the joy of handing over to mother all his 
noney, realizing that it would lighten her burdens — burdens 
Dorne that she might leave her children provided for when 
she could no longer repel the dread messenger, that in 
ill those years seemed to hover so near that even our 
:hildish hearts felt its presence ere it actually crossed the 




It was early in March when Will returned from his j 
trapping expedition. Mother's business was flourishing, j 
though she herself grew frailer with the passing of each j 
day. The summer that came on was a sad one for us all, j 
for it marked Turk's last days on earth. One evening he j 
was lying in the yard, when a strange dog came up the 
road, bounded in, gave Turk a vicious bite, and went on. 
We dressed the wound, and- thought little of it, until 
some horsemen rode up, with the inquiry, ''Have you seen 
a dog pass here?" 

We answered indignantly that a strange dog had passedl 
and had bitten our dog. I 

''Better look out for him, then," warned the men* 
they rode away. "The dog is mad." 1 

Consternation seized us. It was dreadful to think q| 
Turk going mad — he who had been our playmate frort 
infancy, and who, through childhood's years, had growi 
more dear to us than many human beings could; bu 
mother knew the matter was serious, and issued her com: 
mands. Turk must be shut up, and we must not evei 
visit him for a certain space. And so we shut him upj 
hoping for the best ; but it speedily became plain that th( 
poison was working in his veins, and that the greatest kind' 
ness we could do him was to kill him. 

■ That was a frightful alternative. Will utterly refusec 
to shoot him, and the execution was delegated to the hirec 
man, Will stipulating that none of his weapons should bej 
used, and that he be allowed to get out of ear-shot. i 

Late that afternoon, just before sunset, we assembledj 
in melancholy silence for the funeral. A grave had been] 
dug on the highest point of the eastern extremity of Cody^ 
Hill, and decorated in black ribbons, we slowly filed upi 
the steep path, carrying Turk's body on a pine board soft-i 





med with moss. Will led the procession with his hat in 
lis hand, and every now.and then his fist went savagely at 
lis eyes. When we reached the grave, we formed around 
t in a tearful circle, and Will, who always called me ''the 
ittle preacher, " told me to say the Lord's Prayer, The 
jiun was setting, and the brilliant western clouds were shin- 
ng round about us. There was a sighing in the treetops 
"ar below us, and the sounds in the valley were muffled and 

''Our Father which art in heaven," I whispered softly, 
IS all the children bent their heads, "Hallowed be Thy 
lame. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as 
t is in heaven." I paused, and the other children said the 
•est in chorus. The next day Will procured a large block 
i)f red bloodstone, which abounds in that country, squared 
t off, carved the name of Turk upon it in large letters, 
md we placed it at the head of the grave. 

To us there had been no incongruity in the funeral 
:eremonials and burial. Turk had given us all that dog 
:ould give; we, for our part, gave him Christian sepulture. 
Dur sorrow was sincere. We had lost an honest, loyal 
:riend. For many succeeding days his grave was garlanded 
jivith fresh flowers, placed there by loving hands. Vale 
Turk! Would that our friends of the higher evolution 
were all as stanch as thou ! 


Only a dog ! but the tears fall fast 
As we lay him to rest underneath the green sod, 

Where bountiful nature, the sweet summer through, 
Will deck him with daisies and bright goldenrod. 

The loving thought of a boyish heart 
Marks the old dog's grave with a bloodstone red ; 

The name, carved in letters rough and rude, 
Keeps his memory green, though his life be sped. 



For the daring young hero of wood and plain, ! 

Like all who are generous, strong, and brave, j 
Has a heart that is loyal and kind and true, j 

And shames not to weep o'er his old friend's grave. 

Only a dog, do you say ? but I deem 

A dog who with faithfulness fills his trust, 
More worthy than many a man to be given 

A tribute of love, when but ashes and dust. 

An unusually good teacher now presided at the school 
house in our neighborhood, and Will was again persuadec 
into educational paths. He put in a hard winter's work 
but with the coming of spring and its unrest, the swellin. 
of buds and the springing of grass, the return of the bird 
and the twittering from myriad nests, the Spirits of th( 
Plains beckoned to him, and he joined a party of gold- 
hunters on the long trail to Pike's Peak. 

The gold excitement was at its apogee in i860. B3 
our house had passed the historic wagon bearing on its sid{ 
the classic motto, ''Pike's Peak or Bust!" Afterward 
stranded by the wayside, a whole history of failure am 
disappointment, borne with grim humor, was told by th( 
addition of the eloquent word, ''Busted!" 

For all his adventures, Will was only fourteen, am 
although tall for his age, he had not the physical strengtl 
that might have been expected from his hardy life. It wa 
not strange that he should take the gold fever; less so tha 
mother should dread to see him again leave home to fac( 
unknown perils; and it is not at all remarkable that upoi 
reaching Auraria, now Denver, he should find that fortune; 
were not lying around much more promiscuously in a golc 
country than in any other. 

Recent events have confirmed a belief that under th( 
excitement of a gold craze men exercise less judgment thai 
at any other time. Except in placer mining, which almos 



any one can learn, gold mining is a science. Now and 
again a nugget worth a fortune is picked up, but the aver- 
age mortal can get a better livelihood, with half the work, 
in almost any other field of effort. To become rich 
a knowledge of ores and mining methods is indispen- 

But Will never reached the gold-fields. Almost the 
first person he met on the streets of Julesberg was George 
Ghrisman, who had been chief wagon-master for Russell, 
Majors & Waddell. Will had become well acquainted with 
iChrisman on the various expeditions he had made for the 

I This man was located at Julesberg as agent for the 
Pony Express line, which was in process of formation. 
This line was an enterprise of Russell, Majors & Waddell. 
VIr. Russell met in Washington the Senator from California. 
This gentleman knew that the Western firm of contractors 
vas running a daily stagecoach from the Missouri River 
:o Sacramento, and he urged upon Mr. Russell the desir- 
ibility of operating a pony express line along the same 
' 'oute. There was already a line known as the ''Butter- 
deld Route," but this was circuitous; the fastest time ever 
nade on it was twenty-one days. 

Mr. Russell laid the matter before his partners. They 
*vere opposed to it, as they were sure it would be a losing 
/enture; but the senior member urged the matter so 
strongly that they consented to try it, for the good of the 
:ountry, with no expectation of profit. They utilized the 
stagecoach stations already established, and only about 
:wo months were required to put the Pony Express line in 
'unning order. 

Riders received from a hundred and twenty to a hun- 
dred and twenty-five dollars a month, but they earned it. 


In order to stand the life great physical strength am 
endurance were necessary; in addition, riders must be cool 
brave, and resourceful. Their lives were in constant peril 
and they were obliged to do double duty in case the com 
rade that was to relieve them had been disabled by outlaw; 
or Indians. 

Two hundred and fifty miles was the daily distance tha: 
must be made ; this constituted an average of a little ove 
ten miles an hour. In the exceedingly rough country thi 
average could not be kept up; to balance it, there were j 
few places in the route where the rider was expected t( 
cover twenty-five miles an hour. 

In making such a run, it is hardly necessary to say tha 
no extra weight was carried. Letters were written on th 
finest tissue paper; the charge was at the rate of five dol 
lars for half an ounce. A hundred of these letters woulc 
make a bulk not much larger than an ordinary writing 

The mail-pouches were never to carry more than twent] 
pounds. They were leather bags, impervious to moisture 
the letters, as a further protection, were wrapped in oile< 
silk. The pouches were locked, sealed, and strapped t( 
the rider's side. They were not unlocked during the jour 
ney from St. Joseph to Sacramento. 

The first trip was made in ten days ; this was a savin 
of eleven days over the best time ever made by the *'But 
terfield Route." Sometimes the time was shortened t 
eight days; but an average trip was made in nine. Th 
distance covered in this time was nineteen hundred an( 
sixty-six miles. 

President Buchanan's last presidential message wa 
carried in December, i860, in a few hours over eight days 
President Lincoln's inaugural, the following March, wa 


transmitted in seven days and seventeen hours. This was 
the quickest trip ever made. 

The Pony Express line made its worth at once felt. It 
would have become a financial success but that a telegraph 
line was put into operation over the same stretch of terri- 
tory, under the direction of Mr. Edward Creighton. The 
first message was sent over the wires the 24th of October, 
1861. The Pony Express line had outlived its usefulness, 
and was at once discontinued. But it had accomplished 
its main purpose, which was to determine whether the 
route by which it went could be made a permanent track 
I for travel the year through. The cars of the Union Pacific 
road now travel nearly the same old trails as those followed 
by the daring riders of frontier days. 

Mr. Chrisman gave Will a cordial greeting. He explained 
' the business of the express line to his young friend, and 
I stated that the company had nearly perfected its arrange- 
ments. It was now buying ponies and putting them into 
good condition, preparatory to beginning operations. He 
added, jokingly: 

"It's a pity you're not a few years older, Billy. I 
would give you a job as Pony Express rider. There's 
good pay in it." 

Will was at once greatly taken with the idea, and begged 
so hard to be given a trial that Mr. Chrisman consented to 
give him work for a month. If the life proved too hard 
for him, he was to be laid off at the end of that time. He 
had a short run of forty-five miles; there were three relay 
stations, and he was expected to make fifteen miles an 

The 3d of April, i860, Mr. Russell stood ready to 
receive the mail from a fast New York train at St. Joseph. 
ijHc adjusted the letter-pouch on the pony in the presence 



of an excited crowd. Besides the letters, several large Nev 
York papers printed special editions on tissue paper for thi 
inaugural trip. The crowd plucked hairs from the tail o 
the first animal to start on the novel journey, and preserve( 
these hairs as talismans. The rider mounted, the momen 
for starting came, the signal was given, and off hi 

At the same moment Sacramento witnessed a simila 
scene ; the rider of that region started on the two thousanc 
mile ride eastward as the other started westward. All thi 
way along the road the several other riders were ready fo: 
their initial gallop. 

Will looked forward eagerly to the day when the expre^| 
line should be set in motion, and when the hour came f 
found him ready, standing beside his horse, and waiting fa| 
the rider whom he was to relieve. There was a clatter oj 
hoofs, and a horseman dashed up and flung him the saddle] 
bags. Will threw them upon the waiting pony, vaultei| 
into the saddle, and was off like the wind. . 

The first relay station was reached on time, and Wilj 
changed with hardly a second's loss of time, while thi 
panting, reeking animal he had ridden was left to the can! 
of the stock-tender. This was repeated at the end of th«, 
second fifteen miles, and the last station was reached a fe\i 
minutes ahead of time. The return trip was made in goo< 
order, and then Will wrote to us of his new position, anc 
told us that he was in love with the life. 



jAFTER being pounded against a saddle three dashes daily 
for three months, to the tune of fifteen miles an hour, Will 
3egan to feel a little loose in his joints, and weary withal, 
but he was determined to ''stick it out." Besides the 
daily pounding, the track of the Pony Express rider was 
strewn with perils. A wayfarer through that wild land 
^vas more likely to run across outlaws and Indians than to 
ipass unmolested, and as it was known that pac^iages of 
'lvalue were frequently dispatched by the Pony Express line, 
zhe route was punctuated by ambuscades. 

Will had an eye out every trip for a hold-up, but three 
months went by before he added that novelty to his other 
experiences. One day, as he flew around a bend in a nar- 
row pass, he confronted a huge revolver in the grasp of a 
man who manifestly meant business, and whose salutation 

''Halt! Throw up your hands!" 

Most people do, and Will's hands were raised reluc- 
tantly. The highwayman advanced, saying, not unkindly: 

"I don't want to hurt you, boy, but I do want them 

Money packages were in the saddlebags, and Will was 
minded to save them if he could, so, as the outlaw reached 
for the booty. Will touched the pony with his foot, and the 
upshot was satisfactory to an unexpected degree. The 



plunge upset the robber, and as the pony swept over hijpo 
he got a vicious blow from one hoof. Will wheeled for^ 
revolver duel, but the foe was prostrate, stunned, am 
bleeding at the head. Will disarmed the fellow, and pin- 
ioned his arms behind him, and then tied up his broker: 
head. Will surmised that the prisoner must have a horsf ^ 
hidden hard by, and a bit of a search disclosed it. Wherj 
he returned with the animal, its owner had opened his eyed 
and was beginning to remember a few things. Will helped : 
him to mount, and out of pure kindness tied him on; therl 
he straddled his own pony, and towed the dismal outfit! 
along with him. 1 

It was the first time that he had been behind on hiii 
run, but by way of excuse he offered to Mr. Chrismans! 
broken-headed and dejected gentleman tied to a horse'fi 
back; and Chrisman, with a grin, locked the excuse up foi| 
future reference. | | 

A few days after this episode Will received a letteij 
from Julia, telling him that mother was ill, and asking hin^ 
to come home. He at once sought out Mr. Chrisman, and 
giving his reason, asked to be relieved. 

'Tm sorry your mother is sick," w^as the answer, *'bd1 
I'm glad something has occurred to make you quit this life. 
It's wearing you out, Billy, and you're too gritty to give ii 
up without a good reason." 

Will reached home to find mother slightly improved. 
For three weeks was he content to remain idly at home: 
then (it was November of i860) his unquiet spirit bore hirr 
away on another trapping expedition, this time with a young 
friend named David Phillips. 

They bought an ox-team and wagon to transport the 
traps, camp outfit, and provisions, and took along a large 
supply of ammunition, besides extra rifles. Their destina- 



lion was the Republican River. It coursed more than a 
jiundred miles from Leavenworth, but the country about 
jt was reputed rich in beaver. Will acted as scout on the 
journey, going ahead to pick out trails, locate camping 
iTounds, and look out for breakers. The information con- 
erning the beaver proved correct ; the game was indeed so 
)lentiful that they concluded to pitch a permanent camp 
nd see the winter out. 

They chose a hollow in a sidehill, and enlarged it to 
he dimensions of a decent-sized room. A floor of logs 
!/as put in, and a chimney fashioned of stones, the open 
IDwer part doing double duty as cook-stove and heater; 
■he bed was spread in the rear, and the wagon sheltered 
he entrance. A corral of poles was built for the oxen, and 
•ne corner of it protected by boughs. Altogether, they 
ccounted their winter quarters thoroughly satisfactory 
nd agreeable. 

The boys had seen no Indians on their trip out, and 
;ere not concerned in that quarter, though they were too 
ood plainsmen to relax their vigilance. There were other 
Des, as they discovered the first night in their new quarters, 
liey were aroused by a commotion in the corral where the 
xen were confined, and hurrying out with their rifles, 
hey found a huge bear intent upon a feast of beef. The 
xen were bellowing in terror, one of them dashing crazily 
bout the inclosure, and the other so badly hurt that it 
Quid not get up. 

Phillips, who was in the lead, fired first, but succeeded 
nly in wounding the bear. Pain was now added to the 
avagery of hunger, and the infuriated monster rushed upon 
'hillips. Dave leaped back, but his foot slipped on a bit 
f ice, and he went down with a thud, his rifle flying from 
ns hand as he struck. 


But there was a cool young head and a steady ham 
behind him. A ball from Will's rifle entered the db 
tended mouth of the onrushing bear and pierced the brain 
and the huge mass fell lifeless almost across Dave's body 

Phillips's nerves loosened with a snap, and he laughec' 
for very relief as he seized Will's hands. 

''That's the time you saved my life, old fellow!" sfl 
he. ''Perhaps I can do as much for you sometime." 

"That's the first bear I ever killed," said Will, moti 
interested in that topic than in the one Dave hek 
forth on. I 

One of the oxen was found to be mortally hurt, and i 
bullet ended its misery. Will then took his first lesson h 
the gentle art of skinning a bear. 

Dave's chance to square his account with Will came j 
fortnight later. They were chasing a bunch of elk, whei^ 
Will fell, and discovered that he could not rise. ' 

"I'm afraid I've broken my leg," said he,*'as Dave rai' 
to him. 

Phillips had once been a medical student, and h 
examined the leg with a professional eye. "You're right 
Billy; the leg's broken," he reported. 

Then he went to work to improvise splints and bind u] 
the leg; and this done, he took Will on his back and bor 
him to the dugout. Here the leg was stripped, and se 
in carefully prepared splints, and the whole bound u] 

The outlook was unpleasant, cheerfully as one migh 
regard it. Living in the scoop of a sidehill when one i 
strong and able to get about and keep the blood coursinj 
is one thing; living there pent up through a tedious wintei 
is quite another. Dave meditated as he worked away a 
the pair of crutches. 



''Tell you what I think I'd better do," said he. "The 
earest settlement is some hundred miles away, and I can 
et there and back in twenty days. Suppose I make 
le trip, get a team for our wagon, and come back 

The idea of being left alone and well-nigh helpless 
ruck dismay to Will's heart, but there was no help for 
, and he assented. Dave put matters into shipshape, 
liled wood in the dugout, cooked a quantity of food and 
Lit it where Will could reach it without rising, and fetched 
;veral days' supply of water. Mother, ever mindful of 
l/ill's education, had put some school-books in the wagon, 
id Dave placed these beside the food and water. When 
hillips finally set out, driving the surviving ox before him, 
> left behind a very lonely and homesick boy. 

During the first day of his confinement Will felt too 
i^solate to eat, much less to read; but as he grew accus- 
imed to solitude he derived real pleasure from the com- 
finionship of books. Perhaps in all his life he never 
Extracted so much benefit from study as during that brief 
[:riod of enforced idleness, when it was his sole means of 
laking the dragging hours endurable. Dave, he knew, 
uld not return in less than twenty days, and one daily 
tsk, never neglected, was to cut a notch in the stick that 
larked the humdrum passage of the days. Within the 
\:ek he could hobble about on his crutches for a short 
c stance; after that he felt more secure. 

A fortnight passed. And one day, weary with his 
E idies, he fell asleep over his books. Some one touched 
is shoulder, and looking up, he saw an Indian in war 
[ int and feathers. 

"How?" said Will, with a show of friendliness, though 
I knew the brave was on the war-path. 


Half a score of bucks followed at the heels of the first ^ 
squeezing into the Httle dugout until there was bareh \ 
room for them to sit down. ■ 

With a sinking heart Will watched them enter, but h< J 
plucked up spirit again when the last, a chief, pushed in J 
for in this warrior he recognized an Indian that he ha( j 
once done a good turn. I 

Whatever Lo's faults, he never forgets a kindness an) ' 
more than he forgets an injury. The chief, who went h) : 
the name of Rain-in-the-Face, at once recognized Will ; 
and asked him what he was doing in that place. Will dis \ 
played his bandages, and related the mishap that hac | 
made them necessary, and refreshed the chief's memory o j 
a certain occasion when a blanket and provisions had driftec ! 
his way. Rain-in-the-Face replied, with proper gravity ! 
that he and his chums were out after scalps, and confessec j 
to designs upon Will's, but in consideration of Auld Lan| j 
Syne he would spare the paleface boy. " j 

Auld Lang Syne, however, did not save the blankets | 
and provisions, and the bedizened crew stripped the dug- 1 
out almost bare of supplies; but Will was thankful enougl | 
to see the back of the last of them. 1 

Two days later a blizzard set in. Will took an inven- 
tory, and found that, economy considered, he had food foi 
a week ; but as the storm- would surely delay Dave, he pui 
himself on half rations. 

Three weeks were now gone, and he looked for Dav( 
momentarily; but as night followed day, and day grev 
into night again, he was given over to keen anxiety. Hac 
Phillips lost his way? Had he failed to locate the snow 
covered dugout? Had he perished in the storm? Had h( 
fallen victim to Indians? These and like questions hauntec 
the poor lad continually. Study became impossible, anc 



• jie lost his appetite for what food there was left; but the 
Jally on the stick was kept. 

The twenty-ninth day dawned. Starvation stalked 
nto the dugout. The wood, too, was nigh gone. But 
jreat as was Will's physical suffering, his mental distress 
vas greater. He sat before a handful of fire, shivering and 
pngry, wretched and despondent. 

\\ Hark! Was that his name? Choking with emotion, ^ 
mable to articulate, he listened intently. Yes; it was his 
lame, and Dave's familiar voice, and with all his remain- 
,ng energy he made an answering call. 

I His voice enabled Phillips to locate the dugout, and a 
f)assage was cleared through the snow. And when Will 
aw the door open, the tension on his nerves let go, and he 

Ivept — ''like a girl," as he afterward told us. 
''God bless you, Dave!" he cried, as he clasped his 
riend around the neck. 



The guns that opened on Fort Sumter set the country 
ablaze. In Kansas, where blood had already been she 
the excitement reached an extraordinary pitch. Wil 
desired to enlist, but mother would not listen to thj 
idea. \ 

My brother had never forgotten the vow made in th 
post-trader's, and now with the coming of war his oppo 
tunity seemed ripe and lawful ; he could at least take u 
arms against father's old-time enemies, and at the sam 
time serve his country. This aspect of the case was prj 
sented to mother in glowing colors, backed by most el 
quent pleading; but she remained obdurate. 

''You are too young to enlist, Willie," she saic 
*'They would not accept you, and if they did, I could n 
endure it. I have only a little time to live; for m; 
sake, then, wait till I am no more before you enter t 

This request was not to be disregarded, and Will proi 
ised that he would not enlist while mother lived. 

Kansas had long been the scene of bitter strife betwee: 
the two parties, and though there was a preponderance 
the Free-Soil element when it w^as admitted to the Unio; 
in 1 86 1, we were fated to see some of the horrors of slav 
ery. Suffering makes one wondrous kind; mother ha 
suffered so much herself that the misery of others eve 




vibrated a chord of sympathy in her breast, and our house 
became a station on ''the underground railway." Many 
a fugitive slave did we shelter, many here received food 
and clothing, and, aided by mother, a great number reached 
safe harbors. 

One old man, named Uncle Tom, became so much 
attached to us that he refused to go on. We kept him as 
help about the hotel. He was with us several months, and 
we children grew very fond of him. Every evening when 
supper was over, he sat before the kitchen fire and told a 
breathless audience strange stories of the days of slavery. 
And one evening, never to be forgotten. Uncle Tom was 
sitting in his accustomed place, surrounded by his juvenile 
listeners, when he suddenly sprang to his feet with a cry of 
terror. Some men had entered the hotel sitting-room, and 
the sound of their voices drove Uncle Tom to his own little 
room, and under the bed. 

''Mrs. Cody," said the unwelcome visitors, "we under- 
stand that you are harboring our runaway slaves. We 
propose to search the premises ; and if we find our prop- 
erty, you cannot object to our removing it." 

Mother was sorely distressed for the unhappy Uncle 
Tom, but she knew objection would be futile. She could 
only hope that the old colored man had made good his 

But no! Uncle Tom lay quaking under his bed, and 
there his brutal master found him. It is not impossible 
that there were slaveholders kind and humane, but the 
bitter curse of slavery was the open door it left for brutal- 
ity and inhumanity ; and never shall I forget the barbarity 
displayed by the owner of Uncle Tom before our horrified 
eyes. The poor Mave was so old that his hair was wholly 
white ; yet a rope was tied to it, and, despite our pleadings, 


he was dragged from the house, every cry he uttered evofc 
ing only a savage kick from a heavy riding-boot. Wher 
he was out of sight, and his screams out of hearing, w( 
wept bitterly on mother's loving breast. i 

Uncle Tom again escaped, and made his way to oui| 
house, but he reached it only to die. We sorrowed foif 
the poor old slave, but thanked God that he had passed N 
beyond the inhumanity of man. i:| 

Debarred from serving his country as a soldier, Willi 
decided to do so in some other capacity, and accordingly i 
took service with a United States freight caravan, trans- li 
porting supplies to Fort Laramie. On this trip his frontier 1 
training and skill as a marksman were the means of saving 
a life. 

In Western travel the perils from outlaws and Indians 
were so real that emigrants usually sought the protection 
of a large wagon-train. Several families of emigrants jour- 
neyed under the wing of the caravan to which Will was 

When in camp one day upon the bank of the Platte 
River, and the members of the company were busied 
with preparations for the night's rest and the next day's 
journey, Mamie Perkins, a little girl from one of the emi- 
grant families, was sent to the river for a pail of water. A 
moment later a monster buffalo was seen rushing upon th 
camp. A chorus of yells and a fusillade from rifles an 
revolvers neither checked nor swerved him. Straig 
through the camp he swept, like a cyclone, leaping ropei 
and boxes, overturning wagons, and smashing thing 

Mamie, the little water-bearer, had filled her pail an 
was returning in the track selected by the buffalo. To 
terrified to move, she watched, with white face and parte 



■lips, the maddened animal sweep toward her, head down 
land tail up, its hoofs beating a thunderous tattoo on the 

Will had been asleep, but the commotion brought him 
/to his feet, and snatching up his rifle, he ran toward the 
little girl, aimed and fired at the buffalo. The huge animal 
lurched, staggered a few yards farther, then dropped within 
'a dozen feet of the terrified child. 

A shout of relief went up, and while a crowd of prais- 
ing men gathered about the embryo buffalo-hunter, Mamie 
was taken to her mother. Will never relished hearing his 
praises sung, and as the camp was determined to pedestal 
|him as a hero, he ran away and hid in his tent. 

Upon reaching Fort Laramie, Will's first business was 
to look up Alf Slade, agent of the Pony Express line, 
jwhose headquarters were at Horseshoe Station, twenty 
'miles from the fort. He carried a letter of recommenda- 
tion from Mr. Russell, but Slade demurred, 
j ''You're too young for a Pony Express rider," said he. 
\ rode three months a year ago, sir, and I'm much 

jstronger now," said Will. 

! '*0h, are you the boy rider that was on Chrisman's 

''Yes, sir." 

"All right; I'll try you. If you can't stand it, I '11 
give you something easier. ' ' 

i Will's run was from Red Buttes, on the North Platte, 
to Three Crossings, on the Sweetwater — seventy-six miles. 

The wilderness was of the kind that is supposed to 
howl, and no person fond of excitement had reason to 
complain of lack of it. One day Will arrived at his last 
station to find that the rider on the next run had been 
mortally hurt by Indians. There being no one else to do 


it, he volunteered to ride the eighty-five miles for th( 
wounded man. He accomplished it, and made his o\$f 
return trip on time — a continuous ride of three hundrdt 
and twenty-two miles. There was no rest for the rider, 
but twenty-one horses were used on the run — the longeSI 
ever made by a Pony Express rider. 

Shortly afterward Will fell in with California Joe, a'j 
remarkable frontier character. He was standing beside a ' 
group of bowlders that edged the trail when Will first j 
clapped eyes on him, and the Pony Express man instantly j 
reached for his revolver. The stranger as quickly dropped j 
his rifle, and held up his hands in token of friendliness. 
Will drew rein, and ran an interested eye over the man, 
who was clad in buckskin. 

California Joe, who was made famous in General 
Custer's book, entitled ''Life on the Plains," was a man j 
of wonderful physique, straight and stout as a pine. 
His red-brown hair hung in curls below his shoulders; he 
wore a full beard, and his keen, sparkling eyes were of the 
brightest hue. He came from an Eastern family, and j 
possessed a good education, somewhat rusty from disuse. | 

"Hain't you the boy rider I has heard of — the younge^ 
rider on the trail?" he queried, in the border dialect. Will 
made an affirmative answer, and gave his name. 

''Waal," said Joe, "I guess you've got some money on- 
this trip. I was strikin' fer the Eig Horn, and I founc 
them two stiffs up yonder layin' fer ye. We had a littk 
misunderstandin', and now I has 'em to plant." 

Will thanked him warmly, and begged him not to risl 
the perils of the Big Horn ; bujt California Joe only laughed, 
and told him to push ahead. 

When Will reached his station he related his adventure: 
and the stock-tender said it was "good by, California Joe." 



But Will had conceived a better opinion of his new friend, 
. and he predicted his safe return. 

• This confidence was justified by the appearance of Cali- 
fornia Joe, three months later, in the camp of the Pony 
Riders on the Overland trail. He received a cordial greet- 
ing, and was assured by the men that they had not expected 
to see him alive again. In return he told them his story, 
and a very interesting story it was. 

''Some time ago," said he (I shall not attempt to 
reproduce his dialect), "a big gang of gold-hunters went 
into the Big Horn country. They never returned, and the 
general sent me to see if I could get any trace of them. 
The country is full of Indians, and I kept my eye skinned 
for them, but I wasn't looking for trouble from white men. 
I happened to leave my revolver where I ate dinner one 
;day, and soon after discovering the loss I went back after 
ithe gun. Just as I picked it up I saw a white man on my 
trail. I smelled trouble, but turned and jogged along as 
if I hadn't seen anything. That night I doubled back over 
^my trail until I came to the camp where the stranger 
belonged. As I expected, he was one of a party of three, 
but they had five horses. I'll bet odds, Pard Billy" — this 
to Will — ''that the two oilgrims laying for you belonged 
to this outfit. 

"They thought I'd found gold, and were going to fol- 
low me until I struck the mine, then do me up and take 
! possession. 

"The gold is there, too, lots of it. There's silver, iron, 
copper, and coal, too, but no one will look at them so long 
as gold is to be had; but those that go for gold will, many 
of them, leave their scalps behind. 

"We kept the trail day after day; the men stuck right 
to me, the chap ahead keeping me in sight and marking 


out the trail for his pard. When we got into the heart o i | 
the Indian country 1 had to use every caution; I steerec i 
clear of every smoke that showed a village or camp, anc( j 
didn't use my rifle on game, depending on the rations ll^ 
had with me. |i 

''At last I came to a spot that showed signs of a battle. | 
Skulls and bones were strewn around, and after a lool<| 
about I was satisfied beyond doubt that white men hadjl 
been of the company. The purpose of my trip was 
accomplished; I could safely report that the party of 
whites had been exterminated by Indians. | 

"The question now was, could I return without running 
into Indians? The first thing was to give my white pur- 
suers the slip. 

"That night I crept down the bed of a small strean^ 
passed their camp, and struck the trail a half mile or so- 

"It was the luckiest move I ever made. I had riddei 
but a short distance when I heard the familiar war-whoopj 
and knew that the Indians had surprised my unpleasant 
acquaintances and taken their scalps. I should have share( 
the same fate if I hadn't moved. 

"But, boys, it is a grand and beautiful country, full o( 
towering mountains, lovely valleys, and mighty trees." 

About the middle of September the Indians became 
very troublesome along the Sweetwater. Will was| 
ambushed one day, but fortunately he was mounted on| 
one of the fleetest of the company's horses, and lying flatj 
on the animal's back, he distanced the redskins. At the? 


relay station he found the stock-tender dead, and as the^ 
horses had been driven off, he was unable to get a fresh • 
mount; so he rode the same horse to Plontz Station, twelve^ 
miles farther. \ 




A few days later the station boss of the line hailed Will 
with the information : 

"There's Injun signs about; so keep your eyes open." 

'*Vm on the watch, boss," was Will's answer, as he 
exchanged ponies and dashed away. 

The trail ran through a grim wild. It was darkened by 
mountains, overhung with cliffs, and fringed with monster 
pines. The young rider's every sense had been sharpened 
[jby frontier dangers. Each dusky rock and tree was scanned 
for signs of lurking foes as he clattered down the twilight 

. One large bowlder lay in plain view far down the valley, 
[and for a second he saw a dark object appear above it. 

He kept his course until within rifle-shot, and then 
suddenly swerved away in an oblique line. The ambush 
had failed, and a puff of smoke issued from behind the 
bowlder. Two braves, in gorgeous war paint, sprang up, 
and at the same time a score of whooping Indians rode out 
of timber on the other side of the valley. 

Before Will the mountains sloped to a narrow pass; 
could he reach that he would be comparatively safe. The 
Indians at the bowlder were unmounted, and though they 
were fleet of foot, he easily left them behind. The mounted 
reds were those to be feared, and the chief rode a very 
(fleet pony. As they neared the pass Will saw that it was 
life against life. He drew his revolver, and the chief, for 
ihis part, fitted an arrow to his bow. 

Will was a shade the quicker. His revolver cracked, 
and the warrior pitched dead from his saddle. His fall was 
the signal for a shower of arrows, one of which wounded 
the pony slightly ; but the station was reached on time. 

The Indians were now in evidence all the time. 
Between Split Rock and Three Crossings they robbed a 



stage, killed the driver and two passengers, and woundec 
Lieutenant Flowers, the assistant division agent. Thej 
drove the stock from the stations, and continually harassec 
the Pony Express riders and stage-drivers. So bold die 
the reds become that the Pony riders were laid off for si> 
weeks, though stages were to make occasional runs if th( 
business were urgent. A force was organized to search foi 
missing stock. There were forty men in the party — stage- 
drivers, express-riders, stock-tenders, and ranchmen; and 
they were captained by a plainsman named Wild Bill, who 
was a good friend of Will for many years. 

He had not earned the sobriquet through lawlessnes 
It merely denoted his dashing and daring. Physically 
was .well-nigh faultless — tall, straight, and symmetric< 
with broad shoulders and splendid chest. He was ham 
some of face, with a clear blue eye, firm and well-shapei 
mouth, aquiline nose, and brown, curling hair, worn lonj 
upon his shoulders. Born of a refined and cultured familj 
he, like Will, seemingly inherited from some remot 
ancestor his passion for the wild, free life of the plains. 

At this time Wild Bill was a well-known scout, and i 
this capacity served the United States to good purpos 
during the war. 



As Will was one of the laid-off riders, he was allowed to 
join the expedition against the Indian depredators, though 
he was the youngest member of the company. 

The campaign was short and sharp. The Indian trail 
was followed to Powder River, and thence along the banks 
of the stream the party traveled to within forty miles of 
the spot where old Fort Reno now stands; from here the 
trail ran westerly, at the foot of the mountains, and was 
crossed by Crazy Woman's Fork, a tributary of the 

Originally this branch stream went by the name of the 
Big Beard, because of a peculiar grass that fringed it. On 
its bank had stood a village of the Crow Indians, and here 
a half-breed trader had settled. He bought the red man's 
furs, and gave him in return bright-colored beads and 
pieces of calico, paints, and blankets. In a short time he 
had all the furs in the village; he packed them on ponies, 
and said good by to his Indian friends. They were sorry 
to see him go, but he told them he would soon return from 
the land of the paleface, bringing many gifts. Months 
passed ; one day the Indian sentinels reported the approach 
of a strange object. The village was alarmed, for the 
Crows had never seen ox, horse, or wagon ; but the excite- 
ment was allayed when it was found that the strange outfit 
was the property of the half-breed trader. 




He had brought with him his wife, a white 
she, too, was an object of much curiosity to the Indians. 

The trader built a lodge of wood and stones, and 
exposed all his goods for sale. He had brought beads,, 
ribbons, and brass rings as gifts for all the tribe 

One day the big chief visited the store ; the trader lecJ 
him into a back room, swore him to secrecy, and gave him 
a drink of black water. The chief felt strangely happy. 
Usually he was very dignified and stately; but under th 
influence of the strange liquid he sang and danced on th 
streets, and finally fell^ into a deep sleep, from which he 
could not be wakened. This performance was repeated 
day after day, until the Indians called a council of war. 
They said the trader had bewitched their chief, and it must 
be stopped, or they would kill the intruder. A warrior 
was sent to convey this intelligence to the trader; he 
laughed, took the warrior into the back room, swore him 
to secrecy, and gave him a drink of the black water. The 
young Indian, in his turn, went upon the street, and 
laughed and sang and danced, just as the chief had done 
Surprised, his companions gathered around him and asked' 
him what was the matter. '^Oh, go to the trader and get | 
some of the black water!" said he. 4 

They asked for the strange beverage. The trader| 
denied having any, and gave them a drink of ordinary | 
water, which had no effect. When the young warrior i 
awoke, they again questioned him. He said he must have! 
been sick, and have spoken loosely. ^ 

After this the chief and warrior were both drunk every 
day, and all the tribe were sorely perplexed. Another^ 
council of war was held, and a young chief arose, saying J 
that he had made a hole in the wall of the trader's house, ; 
and had watched ; and it was true the trader gave their 1 



friends black water. The half-breed and the two unhappy 
I Indians were brought before the council, and the young 
chief repeated his accusation, saying that if it were not 
true, they might fight him. The second victim of the 
black water yet denied the story, and said the young chief 
lied ; but the trader had maneuvered into the position he 
desired, and he confessed. They bade him bring the 
water, that they might taste it ; but before he departed the 
i young chief challenged to combat the warrior that had said 
he lied. This warrior was the best spearsman of the tribe, 
and all expected the death of the young chief ; but the 
black water had palsied the warrior's arm, his trembling 
hand could not fling true, he was pierced to the heart at 
the first thrust. The tribe then repaired to the trader's 
lodge, and he gave them all a drink of the black water. 
They danced and sang, and then lay upon the ground and 

After two or three days the half-breed declined to pro- 
vide black water free; if the warriors wanted it, they must 
pay for it. At first he gave them a ''sleep," as they 
called it, for one robe or skin, but as the stock of black 
water diminished, two, then three, then many robes were 
demanded. At last he said he had none left except what 
he himself desired. The Indians offered their ponies, until 
the trader had all the robes and all the ponies of the tribe. 

Now, he said, he would go back to the land of the pale- 
face and procure more of the black water. Some of the 
warriors were willing he should do this; others asserted 
that he had plenty of black water left, and was going to 
trade with their enemy, the Sioux. The devil had awak- 
ened in the tribe. The trader's stores and packs were 
searched, but no black water was found. 'Twas hidden, 
then, said the Indians. The trader must produce it, or 


they would kill him. Of course he could not do this. iH 
had sowed the wind; he reaped the whirlwind. He wa^ 
scalped before the eyes of his horrified wife, and his body^ 
mutilated and mangled. The poor woman attempted tcki 
escape ; a warrior struck her with his tomahawk, and shie 
fell as if dead. The Indians fired the lodge. As they di( 
so, a Crow squaw saw that the white woman was not dead. 
She took the wounded creature to her own lodge, bounc 
up her wounds, and nursed her hack to strength. But the 
unfortunate woman's brain was crazed, and could not beai 
the sight of a warrior. 

As soon as she could get around she ran away. The 
squaws went out to look for her, and found her crooning 
on the banks of the Big Beard. She would talk with th^ 
squaws, but if a warrior appeared, she hid herself till hdjt 
was gone. The squaws took her food, and she lived in M 
covert on the bank of the stream for many months. On^ 
day a warrior, out hunting, chanced upon her. Thinking! 
she was lost, he sought to catch her, to take her back to| 
the village, as all Indian tribes have a veneration for the^j 
insane; but she fled into the hills, and was never seen^ 
afterward. The stream became known as the ''Place of the^ 
Crazy Woman," or Crazy Woman's Fork, and has;: 
retained the name to this day. | 

At this point, to return to my narrative, the signs indi- ! 
cated that reinforcements had reached the orignal body of ■ 
Indians. The plainsmen were now in the heart of thei 
Indian country, the utmost caution was required, and a': 
sharp lookout was maintained. When Clear Creek, another^ 
tributary of the Powder, was come up with, an Indian \ 
camp, some three miles distant, was discovered on the \ 
farther bank. \ 



A council of war was held. Never before had the white 
man followed the red so far into his domain, and 'twas 
Iplain the Indian was off his guard; not a scout was posted. 

At Wild Bill's suggestion, the attack waited upon 
nightfall. Veiled by darkness, the company was to sur- 
prise the Indian camp and stampede the horses. 

The plan was carried out without a hitch. The Indians 
outnumbered the white men three to one, but when the 
latter rushed cyclonically through the camp, no effort was 
■made to repel them, and by the time the Indians had 
recovered from their surprise the plainsmen had driven off 
all the horses—those belonging to the reds as well as those 
that had been stolen. A few shots were fired, but the 
whites rode scathless away, and unpursued. 

The line of march was now taken up for Sweetwater 
Bridge, and here, four days later, the plainsmen brought 
up, with their own horses and about a hundred Indian 

This successful sally repressed the hostilities for a space. 
The recovered horses were put back on the road, and the 
stage-drivers and express-riders resumed their interrupted 

^ 'Billy," said Mr. Slade, who had taken a great fancy 
to Will — ''Billy, this is a hard life, and you're too young 
to stand it. You've done good service, and in considera- 
tion of it I'll make you a supernumerary. You'll have to 
ride only when it's absolutely necessary." 

There followed for Will a period of dolce far niente; 
days when he might lie on his back and watch the clouds 
drift across the sky; when he might have an eye to the 
beauty of the woodland and the sweep of the plain, with- 
out the nervous strain of studying every tree and knoll 
that might conceal a lurking redskin. Winter closed in, 



and with it came the memories of the trapping season d 
1 860-6 1, when he had laid low his first and last bear. But 
there were other bears to be killed — the mountains were ful 
of them ; and one bracing morning he turned his horse's 
head toward the hills that lay down the Horseshoe Valley] 
Antelope and deer fed in the valley, the sage-hen and th( 
jack-rabbit started up under his horse's hoofs, but suchi 
small game went by unnoticed. 

Two o'clock passed without a sign of bear, save some| 
tracks in the snow. The wintry air had put a keen edge» 
on Will's appetite, and hitching his tired horse, he shot! 
one of the lately scorned sage-hens, and broiled it over a? 
fire that invited a longer stay than an industrious bear-5 
hunter could afford. But nightfall found him and his| 
quarry still many miles asunder, and as he did not relish^ 
the prospect of a chaffing from the men at the station, 
cast about for a camping-place, finding one in an open spot^ 
on the bank of a little stream. Two more sage-hens weresj 
added to the larder, and he was preparing to kindle a fire^ 
when the whinnying of a horse caught his ear. He ran tcr 
his own horse to check the certain response, resaddled him,^ 
and disposed everything for flight, should it be necessary.jj 
Then, taking his rifle, he put forth on a reconnoissance. ! 

He shortly came upon a bunch of horses, a dozen of' 
more, around a crook of the stream. Above them, on the| 
farther bank, shone a light. Drawing nearer, he saw thatj 
it came from a dugout, and he heard his own language^ 
spoken. Reassured, he walked boldly up to the door and^ 
rapped. ] 

Silence — followed by a hurried whispering, and thej 
demand: j 

''Who's there?" \ 

''Friend and white man," answered Will. \ 



The door opened reluctantly, and an ugly-looking cus- 
tomer bade him enter. The invitation was not responded 
to with alacrity, for eight such villainous-looking faces as 
the dugout held it would have been hard to match. Too 
late to retreat, there was nothing for it but a determined 
front, and let wit point the way of escape. Two of the 
men Will recognized as discharged teamsters from Lew 
Simpson's train, and from his knowledge of their long- 
standing weakness he assumed, correctly, that he had 
thrust his head into a den of horsethieves. 

''Who's with you?" was the first query; and this 
answered, with sundry other information esteemed essen- 
tial, ''Where's your horse?" demanded the most striking 
portrait in the rogues' gallery. 

"Down by the creek," said Will. 

"All right, sonny; we'll go down and get him," was 
the obliging rejoinder. 

"Oh, don't trouble yourself," said Will. "I'll fetch 
him and put up here over night, with your permission, 
I'll leave my gun here till I get back." 

"That's right; leave your gun, you won't need it," 
said the leader of the gang, with a grin that was as near 
amiability as his rough, stern calling permitted him. "Jim 
and I will go down with you after the horse. ' ' 

This offer compelled an acquiescence. Will consoling 
himself with the reflection that it is easier to escape from 
two men than from eight. 

When the horse was reached, one of the outlaws oblig- 
ingly volunteered to lead it. 

"All right," said Will, carelessly. "I shot a couple of 
sage-hens here; I'll take them along. Lead away!" 

He followed with the birds, the second horsethief 
bringing up the rear. As the dugout was neared he let 



fall one of the hens, and asked the chap following to pick 
it up, and as the obliging rearguard stopped. Will knocked 
him senseless with the butt of his revolver. The man 
ahead heard the blow, and turned, with his hand on his 
gun, but Will dropped him with a shot, leaped on his j. 
horse, and dashed off. i 

The sextet in the dugout sprang to arms, and came ^ 
running down the bank, and likely getting the particulars j. 
of the escape from the ruffian by the sage-hen, who was^ 
probably only stunned for the moment, they buckled \ 
warmly to the chase. The mountain-side was steep and ] 
rough, and men on foot were better than on horseback; ; 
accordingly Will dismounted, and clapping his pony ; 
soundly on the flank, sent him clattering on down the ■ 
declivity, and himself stepped aside behind a large pine. ) 
The pursuing party rushed past him, and when they were .\ 
safely gone, he climbed back over the mountain, and made^ 
his way as best he could to the Horseshoe. It was a ] 
twenty-five mile plod, and he reached the station early in : 
the morning, weary and footsore. i 

He woke the plainsmen, and related his adventure, ; 
and Mr. Slade at once organized a party to hunt out the i 
bandits of the dugout. Twenty well-armed stock-tenders, j 
stage-drivers, and ranchmen rode away at sunrise, and, \ 
notwithstanding his fatigue. Will accompanied them as i 
guide. j 

But the ill-favored birds had flown ; the dugout was \ 
deserted. ] 

Will soon tired of this nondescript service, and gladly i 
accepted a position as assistant wagon-master under Wild : 
Bill, who had taken a contract to fetch a load of govern- 1 
ment freight from Rolla, Missouri. j 

He returned with a wagon-train to Springfield, in that 1 




state, and thence came home on a visit. It was a brief 
one, however, for the air was too full of war for him to 
endure inaction. Contented only when, at work, he con- 
tinued to help on government freight contracts, until he 
received word that mother was dangerously ill. Then he 
resigned his position and hastened home. 


THE mother's last ILLNESS. 

It was now the autumn of 1863, and Will was a well- 
grown young man, tall, strong, and athletic, though not 
yet quite eighteen years old. Our oldest sister, Julia, had 
been married, the spring preceding, to Mr. J. A. Goodman. 

Mother had been growing weaker from day to day; 
being with her constantly, we had not remarked the change 
for the worse ; but Will was much shocked by the trans- 
formation which a few months had wrought. Only an 
indomitable will power had enabled her to overcome the 
infirmities of the body, and now it seemed to us as if her 
flesh had been refined away, leaving only the sweet and 
beautiful spirit. 

Will reached home none too soon,, for^only three weeks 
after his return the doctor told mother that only a few 
hours were left to her, and if she had any last messages, it 
were best that she communicate them at once. That even- 
ing the children were called in, one by one, to receive her 
blessing and farewell. Mother was an earnest Christian 
character, but at that time I alone of all the children 
appeared religiously disposed. Young as I was, the 
solemnity of the hour when she charged me with the spirit- 
ual welfare of the family has remained with me through all 
the years that have gone. Calling me to her side, she 
sought to impress upon my childish mind, not the sorrow 
of death, but the glory of the resurrection. Then, as if 




she were setting forth upon a pleasant journey, she bade 
me good by, and I kissed her for the last time in life. 
When next I saw her face it was cold and quiet. The 
beautiful soul had forsaken its dwelling-place of clay, and 
passed on through the Invisible, to wait, a glorified spirit, 
on the farther shore for the coming of the loved ones 
whose Irfe-story was as yet unfinished. 

Julia and Will remained with her throughout the night. 
Just before death there came to her a brief season of long- 
lost animation, the last flicker of the torch before darkness. 
She talked to them almost continuously until the dawn. 
Into their hands was given the task of educating the others 
of the family, and on their hearts and consciences the 
charge was graven. Charlie, who was born during the 
early Kansas troubles, had ever been a delicate child, and 
he lay an especial burden on her mind. 

''If," she said, "it be possible for the dead to call the 
Hving, I shall call Charlie to me." 

Within the space of a year, Charlie, too, was gone ; and 
who shall say that the yearning of a mother's heart for her 
child was not stronger than the influences of the material 

Upon Will mother sought to impress the responsibili- 
ties of his destiny. She reminded him of the prediction 
of the fortune-teller, that "his name would be known the 
world over." 

"But," said she, "only the names of them that are 
upright, brave, temperate, and true can be honorably 
known. Remember always that 'he that overcometh his 
own soul is greater than he who taketh a city.* Already 
you have shown great abilities, but remember that they 
carry with them grave responsibilities. You have been a 
good son to me. In the hour of need you have always 



aided me. so that I can die now feeling that my. children % 
are not unprovided for. I have not wished you to enlist 
in the war, partly because I knew you were too young, i 
partly because my life was drawing near its close. But 
now you are nearly eighteen, and if when I am gone your | 
country needs you in the strife of which we in Kansas know J 
the bitterness, I bid you go as soldier in behalf of the cause 
for which your father gave his life." ^ 
She talked until sleep followed exhaustion. When she ] 
awoke she tried to raise herself in bed. Will sprang to aid | 
her, and with the upward look of one that sees ineffable | 
things, she passed away, resting in his arms. i 

Oh, the glory and the gladness J 

Of a life without a fear ; C 

Of a death like nature fading r 

In the autumn of the year ; ' w 

Of a sweet and dreamless slumber, ¥ 

In a faith triumphant borne, 
Till the bells of Easter wake her ■ | 

On the resurrection morn ! 

Ah, for such a blessed falling 

Into quiet sleep at last, 
When the ripening grain is garnered, 

And the toil and trial past ; 
When the red and gold of sunset 

Slowly changes into gray ; 
Ah, for such a quieJ: passing, 

Through the night into the day! ^ 


The morning of the 2 2d day of November, 1863, began ' 
the saddest day of our lives. We rode in a rough lumber % 
wagon to Pilot Knob Cemetery, a long, cold, hard ride; ] 
but we wished our parents to be united in death as they j 
had been in life, so buried mother in a grave next to , 
father's. ] 

The road leading from the cemetery forked a short dis- ] 



tance outside of Leavenworth, one branch running to that 
city, the other winding homeward along Government Hill. 
When we were returning, and reached this fork, Will 
jumped out of the wagon. 

"I can't go home when I know mother is no longer 
there," said he. ''I am going to Leavenworth to see 
Eugene Hathaway. I shall stay with him to-night." 

We pitied Will — he and mother had been so much to 
each other — and raised no objection, as we should have 
done had we known the real purpose of his visit. 

The next morning, therefore, we were much surprised 
to see him and Eugene ride into the yard, both clothed in 
the blue uniforms of United States soldiers. Overwhelmed 
with grief over mother's death, it seemed more than we 
could bear to see our big brother ride off to war. We 
threatened to inform the recruiting officers that he was not 
yet eighteen ; but he was too thoroughly in earnest to be 
moved by our objections. The regiment in which he had 
enlisted was already ordered to the front, and he had come 
home to say good by. He then rode away to the hard- 
ships, dangers, and privations of a soldier's life. The joy 
of action balanced the account for him, while we were 
obliged to accept the usual lot of girlhood and woman- 
hood — the weary, anxious waiting, when the heart is torn 
with uncertainty and suspense over the fate of the loved 
ones who bear the brunt and burden of the day. 

The order sending Will's regiment to the front was 
countermanded, and he remained for a time in Fort Leav- 
enworth. His Western experiences were well known 
there, and probably for this reason he was selected as a 
bearer of military dispatches to Fort Larned. Some of our 
old pro-slavery enemies, who were upon the point of join- 
ing the Confederate army, learned of Will's mission, which 


they thought afforded them an excellent chance to gratify ^ 
their ancient grudge against the father by murdering the | 
son. The killing could be justified on the plea of service | 
rendered to their cause. Accordingly a plan was made to J 
waylay Will and capture his dispatches at a creek he was ; 
obliged to ford. j 

He received warning of this plot. On such a mission j 
the utmost vigilance was demanded at all times, and with-^ 
an ambuscade ahead of him, he was alertness itself. His ■ 
knowledge of Indian warfare stood him in good stead now. ] 
Not a tree, rock, or hillock escaped his keen glance. When ' 
he neared the creek at which the attack was expected, he i 
left the road, and attempted to ford the stream four or five ] 
hundred yards above the common crossing, but found it so • 
swollen by recent rains that he was unable to cross ; so he | 
cautiously picked his way back to the trail. | 

The assassins' camp was two or three hundred feet away 1^ 
from the creek. Darkness was coming on, and he took < 
advantage of the shelter afforded by the bank, screening ] 
himself behind every clump of bushes. His enemies would ^ 
look for his approach from the other direction, and he hoped j 
to give them the slip and pass by unseen. I 

When he reached the point where he could see the little ^ 
cabin where the men were probably hiding, he ran upon a 1 
thicket in which five saddle-horses were concealed. | 

''Five to .one! I don't stand much show if they see 
me," he decided as he rode quietly and slowly along, his \ 
carbine in his hand ready for use. \ 

"There he goes, boys! he's at the ford !" came a sudden ; 
shout from the camp, followed by the crack of a rifle. 1 
Two or three more shots rang out, and from the bound his l 
horse gave Will knew one bullet had reached a mark. He ^ 
rode into the water, then turned in his saddle and aimed : 



like a flash at a man within range. The fellow staggered 
and fell, and Will put spurs to his horse, turning again only 
when the stream was crossed. The men were running 
toward the ford, firing as they came, and getting a warm 
return fire. As Will was already two or three hundred 
yards in advance, pursuers on foot were not to be feared, 
and he knew that before they could reach and mount their 
horses he would be beyond danger. Much depended on 
his horse. Would the gallant beast, wounded as he was, 
be able to long maintain the fierce pace he had set? Mile 
upon mile was put behind before the stricken creature fell. 
Will shouldered the saddle and bridle and continued on 
foot. He soon reached a ranch where a fresh mount might 
be procured, and was shortly at Fort Larned. 

After a few hours' breathing-spell, he left for Fort 
Leavenworth with return dispatches. As he drew near the 
ford, he resumed his sharp lookout, though scarcely expect- 
ing trouble. The planners of the ambuscade had been so 
certain that five men could easily make away with one boy 
that there had been no effort at disguise, and Will had 
recognized several of them. He, for his part, felt certain 
that they would get out of that part of the country with 
all dispatch; but he employed none the less caution in 
crossing the creek, and his carbine was ready for business 
as he approached the camp. 

The fall of his horse's hoofs evoked a faint call from 
one of the buildings. It was not repeated ; instead there 
issued hollow moans. 

It might be a trap; again, a fellow-creature might be at 
death's door. Will rode a bit nearer the cabin entrance. 

''Who's there?" he called. 

''Come in, for the love of God! I am dying here 
alone!" was the reply. 


''Who are you?" 
"Ed Norcross." 
Will jumped from his horse. This was the man a 
whom he had fired. He entered the cabin. 
"What is the matter?" he asked. 

"I was wounded by a bullet," moaned Norcross, "an 
my comrades deserted me." 

Will was now within range of the poor fellow lying o 
the floor. 

"Will Cody!" he cried. ' 

Will dropped on his knee beside the dying man, chok-^^ 
ing with the emotion that the memory of long years of' 
friendship had raised. 

"My poor Ed!" he murmured. "And it was my bullet ^ 
that struck you." i 

"It was in defense of your own life. Will," said Nor-" 
cross. "God knows, I don't blame you. Don't think tooj 
hard of me. I did everything I could to save you. It| 
was I who sent you warning. I hoped you might find| 
some other trail." ^ 

"I didn't shoot with the others," continued Norcross, ^ 
after a short silence. "They deserted me. They said| 
they would send help back, but they haven't." | 

Will filled the empty canteen lying on the floor, and| 
rearranged the blanket that served as a pillow; then he:i 
offered to dress the neglected wound. But the gray of? 
death was already upon the face of Norcross. 

"Never mind. Will," he whispered; "it's not worth'; 
while. Just stay with me till I die." t 

It was not a long vigil. Will sat beside his old friend, J 
moistening his pallid lips with water. In a very short time J 
the end came. Will disposed the stiffening limbs, crossing^ 



the hands over the heart, and with a last backward look 
went out of the cabin. 

It was his first experience in the bitterness and savagery 
of war, and he set a grave and downcast face against the 
remainder of his journey. 

As he neared Leavenworth he met the friend who had 
conveyed the dead man's warning message, and to him he 
committed the task of bringing home the body. His 
heaviness of spirit was scarcely mitigated by the congratu- 
lations of the commander of Fort Leavenworth upon his 
pluck and resources, which had saved both his life and the 

There followed another period of inaction, always irri- 
tating to a lad of Will's restless temperament. Meantime, 
we at home were having our own experiences. 

We were rejoiced in great measure when sister Julia 
decided that we had learned as much as might be hoped 
for in the country school, and must thereafter attend the 
winter and spring terms of the school at Leavenworth. 

i The dresses she cut for us, however, still followed the 
country fashion, which has regard rather to wear than to 
appearance, and we had not been a day in the city school 
before we discovered that our apparel had stamped ''pro- 
vincial" upon us in plain, large characters. In addition to 

j this, our brother-in-law, in his endeavor to administer the 
estate economically, bought each of us a pair of coarse 
calfskin shoes. To these we were quite unused, mother 
having accustomed us to serviceable but pretty ones. The 
author of our ''extreme" mortification, totally ignorant of 
the shy and sensitive nature of girls, only laughed at our 
protests, and in justice to him it may be said that he really 
had no conception of the torture he inflicted upon us. 



We turned to Will. In every emergency he was our I 
first thought, and here was an emergency that taxed his 
powers to an extent we did not dream of. He made answer 
to our letter that he was no longer an opulent trainman, 
but drew only the slender income of a soldier, and even 
that pittance was in arrears. Disappointment was swal- 
lowed up in remorse. Had we reflected how keenly he ji 
must feel his inability to help us, we would not have sent li 
him the letter, which, at worst, contained only a sly sug- ) 
gestion of a fine opportunity to relieve sisterly distress. {" 
All his life he had responded to our every demand ; now j 
allegiance was due his country first. But, as was always I 
the way with him, he made the best of a bad matter, and \ 
we were much comforted by the receipt of the following 
letter: j 

"My Dear Sisters: I 

" I am sorry that I cannot help you and furnish you with such clothes i 

as you wish. At this writing I am so short of funds myself that if an | 

entire Mississippi steamer could be bought for ten cents I couldn't pur- | 
chase the smokestack. I will soon draw my pay, and I will send it, every 

cent, to you. So brave it out, girls, a little longer. In the mean time I j 

will write to Al. Lovingly, I 

Will.'* j 

We were comforted, yes;, but my last hope was gone, j 

and I grew desperate. I had never worn the obnoxious ; 

shoes purchased by my guardian, and I proceeded to dis- < 

pose of them forever. I struck what I regarded as a fa- i 

mous bargain with an accommodating Hebrew, and came \ 

into possession of a pair of shiny morocco shoes, worth ! 

perhaps a third of what mine had cost. One would say j 

they were designed for shoes, and they certainly looked i 

like shoes, but as certainly they were not wearable. Still | 

they were of service, for the transaction convinced my ; 
guardian that the truest economy did not lie in the pur- 


chasing of calfskin shoes for at least one of his charges. 
A little later he received a letter from Will, presenting our 
I grievances and advocating our cause. Will also sent us 
i the whole of his next month's pay as soon as he drew it. 
i In February, 1864, Sherman began his march through 
I Mississippi. The Seventh Kansas regiment, known as 
''Jennison's Jayhawkers," was reorganized at Fort Leaven- 
worth as veterans, and sent to Memphis, Tenn., to join 
General A. J. Smith's command, which was to operate 
against General Forrest and cover the retreat of General 
Sturgis, who had been so badly whipped by Forrest at 
Cross-Roads. Will was exceedingly desirous of engaging 
in a great battle, and through some officers with whom he 
was acquainted preferred a petition to be transferred to this 
regiment. The request was granted, and his delight knew 
no bounds. He wrote to us that his great desire was about 
to be gratified, that he should soon know what a real battle 
was like. 

He was well versed in Indian warfare; now he was 
ambitious to learn, from experience, the superiority of 
civilized strife — rather, I should say, of strife between civ- 
ilized people. 

General Smith had acquainted himself with the record 
made by the young scout of the plains, and shortly after 
reaching Memphis he ordered Will to report to headquar- 
ters for special service. 

*'I am anxious," said the general, ''to gain reliable 
j information concerning the enemy's movements and posi- 
! tion. This can only be done by entering the Confederate 
i camp. You possess the needed qualities^ — nerve, coolness, 
I resource — and I believe you could do it." 

''You mean," answered Will, quietly, "that you wish 
me to go as a spy into the rebel camp." 


Exactly. But you must understand the risk you run. \ 
If you are captured, you will be hanged." 

''I am ready to take the chances, sir," said Will; ] 
''ready to go at once, if you wish." ) 

General Smith's stern face softened into a smile at the | 
prompt response. j 
am sure, Cody," said he, kindly, "that if any one i 
can go through safely, you will. Dodging Indians on the | 
plains was good training for the work in hand, which j 
demands quick intelligence and ceaseless vigilance. I never \ 
require such service of any one, but since you volunteer to { 
go, take these maps of the country to your quarters and i 
study them carefully. Return this evening for full instruc- i 
tions." ' 

During the few days his regiment had been in camp, : 
Will had been on one or two scouting expeditions, and was . 
somewhat familiar with the immediate environments of the J 
Union forces. • The maps were unusually accurate, showing ' 
every lake, river, creek, and highway, and even the j 
by-paths from plantation to plantation. mi 

Only the day before, while on a reconnoissance, Wil j 
had captured a Confederate soldier, who proved to be an i 
old acquaintance named Nat Golden. Will had served j 
with Nat on one of Russell, Majors & Waddell's freight \ 
trains, and at one time had saved the young man's life, and ] 
thereby earned his enduring friendship. Nat was born in 
the East, became infected with Western fever, and ran \ 
away from home in order to become a plainsman, - 

"Well, this is too bad," said Will, when he recognized < 
his old friend. "I would rather have captured a whole \ 
regiment than you. I don't like to take you in as a pris- | 
oner. What did you enlist on the wrong side for, any- j 
way?" f 




"The fortunes of war, Billy, my boy," laughed Nat. 
''Friend shall be turned against friend, and brother against 
brother, you know. You wouldn't have had me for a pris- 
oner, either, if my rifle hadn't snapped; but I'm glad 
it did, for I shouldn't want to be the one that shot 

''Well, I don't want to see you strung up," said Will; 
"so hand me over those papers you have, and I will turn 
you in as an ordinary prisoner." 

Nat's face paled as he asked, "Do you think I'm' a 
spy, Billy?" 

"I know it." 

"Well," was the reply, "I've risked my life to obtain 
these papers, but I suppose they will be taken from me 
anyway; so I might as well give them up now, and save 
my neck." 

Examination showed them to be accurate maps of the 
location and position of the Union army; and besides the 
maps, there were papers containing much valuable informa- 
tion concerning the number of soldiers and officers and their 
intended movements. Will had not destroyed these 
papers, and he now saw a way to use them to his own 
advantage. When he reported for final instructions, there- 
fore, at General Smith's tent, in the evening, Will said to 
him : 

"I gathered from a statement dropped by the prisoner 
captured yesterday, that a Confederate spy has succeeded 
in making out and carrying to the enemy a complete map 
of the position of our regiment, together with some idea of 
the projected plan of campaign." 

"Ah," said the general; "I am glad that you have put 
jme on my guard. I will at once change my position, so 
[Ithat the information will be of no value to them." 


Then followed full instructions as to the duty required} 
of the volunteer. 

''When will you set out?" asked the general. 

'* To-night, sir. I have procured my uniform, and have 
everything prepared for an early start." 

''Going to change your colors, eh?" 

"Yes, for the time being, but not my principles." 

The general looked at Will approvingly. "You will 
need all the wit, pluck, nerve, and caution of which yo^ 
are possessed to come through this ordeal safely," said he; 
"I believe you can accomplish it, and I rely upon yoi 
fully. Good by, and success go with you!" 

After a warm hand-clasp. Will returned to his tent, and 
lay down for a few hours' rest. By four o'clock he was 
the saddle, riding toward the Confederate lines. 



In common walks of life to play the spy is an ignoble role ; 
yet the work has to be done, and there must be men to do 
it. There always are such men — nervy fellows who swing 
themselves into the saddle when their commander lifts his 
hand, and ride a mad race, with Death at the horse's flank 
every mile of the way. They are the unknown heroes of 
every war. 

It was with a full realization of the dangers confronting 
him that Will cantered away from the Union lines, his 
borrowed uniform under his arm. As soon as he had put 
the outposts behind him, he dismounted and exchanged 
;the blue clothes for the gray. Life on the plains had 
bronzed his face. For aught his complexion could tell, the 
ardent Southern sun might have kissed it to its present 
hue. Then, if ever, his face was his fortune in good part; 
but there was, too, a stout heart under his jacket, and the 
[light of confidence in his eyes. 

The dawn had come up when he sighted the Confeder- 
ate outposts. What lay beyond only time could reveal; 
but with a last reassuring touch of the papers in his pocket, 
he spurred his horse up to the first of the outlying sentinels. 
Promptly the customary challenge greeted him : 

''Halt! Who goes there?" 


"Dismount, friend! Advance and give the counter- 




'Haven't the countersign/' said Will, dropping fror 
his horse, ''but I have important information for Genera j 
Forrest. Take me to him at once." ^] 
"Are you a Confederate soldier?" * ' 

"Not exactly. But I have some valuable news abou 
the Yanks, I reckon. Better let me see the general." 

"Thus far," he added to himself, "I have played th< 
part. The combination of 'Yank' and 'I reckon* ought t( 
establish me as a promising candidate for Confederal 

His story was not only plausible, but plainly and fairlj 
told ; but caution is a child of war, and the sentinel knel 
his business. The pseudo-Confederate was disarmed as| 
necessary preliminary, and marched between two guard 
to headquarters, many curious eyes (the camp being noJ 
astir) following the trio. I 

When Forrest heard the report, he ordered the prisons 
brought before him. One glance at the general's hanJ 
some but harsh face, and the young man steeled his nerv^ 
for the encounter. There was no mercy in those cole 
piercing eyes. This first duel of wits was the one to t 
most dreaded. Unless confidence were established, h 
after work must be done at a disadvantage. 

The general's penetrating gaze searched the young fac 
before him for several seconds. 

"Well, sir," said he, "what do you want with me?" 

Yankee-like, the reply was another question: ] 

"You. sent a man named Nat Golden into the Unic 
lines, did you not, sir?" 

"And if I did, what then?" 

"He is an old friend of mine. He tried for the Unio 
camp to verify information that he had received, but befoi 


he started he left certain papers with me in case he should 
be captured." 

"Ah!" said Forrest, coldly. ''And he was captured?" 

"Yes, sir; but, as I happen to know, he wasn't hanged, 
for these weren't on him." 

As he spoke. Will took from his pocket the papers he 
had obtained from Golden, and passed them over with the 
remark, "Golden asked me to take them to you." 

General Forrest was familiar with the hapless Golden's 
handwriting, and the documents were manifestly genuine. 
His suspicion was not aroused. 

"These are important papers," said he, when he had 
run his eye over them. "They contain valuable informa- 
tion, but we may not be able to use it, as we are about to 
change our location. Do you know what these papers con- 

"Every word," was the truthful reply. "I studied 
them, so that in case they were destroyed you would still 
have the information from me." 

"A wise thing to do," said Forrest, approvingly. 
"Are you a soldier?" 

"I have not as yet joined the army, but I am pretty 
well acquainted with this section, and perhaps could serve 
you as a scout." 

"Um!'* said the general, looking the now easy-minded 
young man over. "You wear our uniform." 

"It's Golden's," was the second truthful answer. "He 
left it with me when he put on the blue." 

"And what is your name?" 

"Frederick Williams." 

Pretty near the truth. Only a final "s" and a rear- 
rangement of his given names. 


''Very well," said the general, ending the audienc^ 
*'you may remain in camp. If I need you, I'll send for you." 

He summoned an orderly, and bade him make the 
volunteer scout comfortable at the couriers* camp. Will 
breathed a sigh of relief as he followed at the orderly's 
heels. The ordeal was successfully passed. The rest was 

Two days went by. In them Will picked up valuable 
information here and there, drew maps, and was preparec 
to depart at the first favorable opportunity. It was about 
time, he figured, that General Forrest found some scouting 
work for him. That was a passport beyond the lines, am 
he promised himself the outposts should see the cleanesjj 
pair of heels that ever left unwelcome society in the real 
But evidently scouting was a drug in the general's market 
for the close of another day found Will impatiently await- 
ing orders in the couriers' quarters. This sort of inactivity 
was harder on the nerves than more tangible perils, and hi 
about made up his mind that when he left camp it would 
be without orders, but with a hatful of bullets singing afte: 
him. And he was quite sure that his exit lay that wa^ 
when, strolling past headquarters, he clapped eyes on th^ 
very last person that he expected or wished to see — Na|f 
Golden. 5| 
And Nat was talking to an adjutant-general! ^ 
There were just two things to do, knock Golden on tho^ 
head, or cut and run. Nat would not betray him know-^ 
ingly, but unwittingly was certain to do so the momen^ 
General Forrest questioned him. There could be no choic^ 
between the two courses open ; it was cut and run, and asj 
a preliminary Will cut for his tent. First concealing his* 
papers, he saddled his horse and rode toward the outpost^ 
with a serene countenance. 


i\ The same sergeant that greeted him when he entered 
ithe lines chanced to be on duty, and of him Will asked an 
( unimportant question concerning the outer-flung lines. 
: Yet as he rode along he could not forbear throwing an 
1 apprehensive glance behind. 

No pursuit was making, and the farthest picket-line was 
passed by a good fifty yards. Ahead was a stretch of 

Suddenly a dull tattoo of horses* hoofs caught his ear, 
and he turned to see a small cavalcade bearing down upon 
him at a gallop. He sank the spurs into his horse's side 
and plunged into the timber. 

It was out of the frying-pan into the fire. He ran 
plump into a half-dozen Confederate cavalrymen, guarding 
i two Union prisoners. 

1 ''Men, a Union spy is escaping!" shouted Will. 
I Scatter at once, and head him off. I'll look after your 
I prisoners." 

There was a ring of authority in the command ; it came 
at least frorh a petty officer; and without thought of chal- 
lenging it, the cavalrymen hurried right and left in search 
of the fugitive. 

''Come, "said W^ill, in a hurried but smiling whisper to 
the dejected pair of Union men. "I'm the spy! There!" 
cutting the ropes that bound their wrists. "Now ride for 
your lives !" 

Off dashed the trio, and not a minute too soon. Will's 
halt had been brief, but it had been of advantage to his 
pursuers, who, with Nat Golden at their head, came on in 
full cry, not a hundred yards behind. 

Here was a race with Death at the horse's flanks. The 
timber stopped a share of the singing bullets, but there 
were plenty that got by the trees, one of them finding lodg- 


ment in the arm of one of the fleeing Union soldiers. 
Capture meant certain death for Will; for his companions 
it meant Andersonville or Libby, at the worst, which was 
perhaps as bad as death ; but Will would not leave them, 
though his horse was fresh, and he could easily have dis- 
tanced them. Of course, if it became necessary, he was 
prepared to cut their acquaintance, but for the present he 
made one of the triplicate targets on which the gallopin 
marksmen were endeavoring to score a bull's-eye. 

The edge of the wood was shortly reached, an 
beyond — inspiring sight! — lay the outposts of the Union? 
army. The pickets, at sight of the fugitives, sounded the 
alarm, and a body of blue-coats responded. ' 

Will would have gladly tarried for the skirmish that 
ensued, but he esteemed it his first duty to deliver the 
papers he had risked his life to obtain ; so, leaving friend] 
and foe to settle the dispute as best they might, he put for] 
the clump of trees where he had hidden his uniform, and 
exchanged it for the gray, that had served its purpose and 
was no longer endurable. Under his true colors he rode 
into camp. 

General Forrest almost imm.ediately withdrew from that 
neighborhood, and after the atrocious massacre at FortJ 
Pillow, on the I2th of April, left the state. General Smith^ 
was recalled, and Will was transferred, with the commission ; 
of guide and scout for the Ninth Kansas Regiment. 

The Indians were giving so much trouble along the line j 
of the old Santa Fe trail that troops were needed to protect ^ 
the stagecoaches, emigrants, and caravans traveling that \ 
great highway. Like nearly all our Indian wars, this ^ 
trouble was precipitated by the injustice of the white man's 
government of certain of the native tribes. In i86oi 
Colonel A. G. Boone, a worthy grandson of the immortal I 



Daniel, made a treaty with the Comanches, Kiowas, Chey- 
ennes, and Arapahoes, and at their request he was made 
agent. During his wise, just^ and humane administration 
all of these savage nations were quiet, and held the kind- 
liest feelings toward the whites. Any one could cross the 
plains without fear of molestation. In 1861 a charge of 
disloyalty was made against Colonel Boone by Judge 
Wright, of Indiana, and he succeeded in having the right 
man removed from the right place. Russell, Majors & 
Waddell, recognizing his influence over the Indians, gave 
him fourteen hundred acres of land near Pueblo, Colorado. 
Colonel Boone moved there, and the place was named 
Booneville. Fifty chieftains from the tribes referred to 
visited Colonel Boone in the fall of 1862, and implored him 
to return to them. He told them that the President had 
sent him away. They offered to raise money, by selling 
their horses, to send him to Washington, to tell the Great 
Father what their agent was doing — that he stole their 
goods and sold them back again ; and they bade the colonel 
say that there would be trouble unless some one were put 
in the dishonest man's place. With the innate logic for 
which the Indian is noted, they declared that they had as 
much right to steal from passing caravans as the agent had 
to steal from them. 

No notice was taken of so trifling a matter as an injus- 
tice to the Indian. The administration had its hands more 
than full in the attempt to right the wrongs of the negro. 

In the fall of 1863 a caravan passed along the trail. It 
was a small one, but the Indians had been quiet for so long 
a time that travelers were beginning to lose fear of them. 
A band of warriors rode up to the wagon-train and asked 
for something to eat. The teamsters thought they would 
be doing humanity a service if they killed a redskin, on the 


ancient principle that ''the only good Indian is a dead i; 
one. * * Accordingly, a friendly, inoffensive Indian was shot, i 

The bullet that reached his heart touched that of every i 
warrior in these nations. Every man but one in the wagon- i 
train was slain, the animals driven off, and the wagons \ 
burned. , 

The fires of discontent that had been smoldering for 1 
two years in the red man's breast now burst forth with vol- ' 
canic fury. Hundreds of atrocious murders followed, with \ 
wholesale destruction of property. 

The Ninth Kansas Regiment, under the command of 
Colonel Clark, was detailed to protect the old trail between 
Fort Lyon and Fort Larned, and as guide and scout WilBl 
felt wholly at home. He knew the Indian and his ways,! 
and had no fear of him. His fine horse and glittering trap-l 
pings were an innocent delight to him ; and who will noti 
pardon in him the touch of pride — say vanity — that thrilled? 
him as he led his regiment down the Arkansas River? J 

During the summer there were sundry skirmishes with thq| 
Indians. The same old vigilance, learned in earlier daysl 
on the frontier, was in constant demand, and there was! 
many a rough and rapid ride to drive the hostiles from the\ 
trail. Whatever Colonel Clark's men may have had to| 
complain of, there was no lack of excitement, no dull days,.-i^ 
in that summer. 

In the autumn the Seventh Kansas was again ordered to-' 
the front, and at the request of its officers Will was detailed ^ 
for duty with his old regiment. General . Smith's orders 1 
were that he should go to Nashville. Rosecrans was then r 
in command of the Union forces in Missouri. His army > 
was very small, numbering only about 6,500 men, while j 
the Confederate General Price was on the point of entering ' 
the state with 20,000. This superiority of numbers was so -i 



great that General Smith received an order countermand- 
ing the other, and remained in Missouri, joining forces with 
Rosecrans to oppose Price. Rosecrans's entire force still 
numbered only 11,000, and he deemed it prudent to con- 
centrate his army around St. Louis. General Ewing's 
forces and a portion of General Smith's command occupied 
Pilot Knob. On Monday, the 24th of September, 1864, 
Price advanced against this position, but was repulsed with 
heavy losses. An adjacent fort in the neighborhood of 
Ironton was assaulted, but the Confederate forces again 
sustained a severe loss. This fort held a commanding 
lookout on Shepard Mountain, which the Confederates 
occupied, and their well-directed fire obliged General Ewing 
to fall back to Harrison Station, where he made a stand, 
and some sharp fighting followed. General Ewing again 
fell back, and succeeded in reaching General McNeill, at 
Rolla, with the main body of his troops. 

This was Will's first serious battle, and it so chanced 
that he found himself opposed at one point by a body of 
Missouri troops numbering many of the men who had been 
his father's enemies and persecutors nine years before. In 
the heat of the conflict he recognized more than one of 
them, and with the recognition came the memory of his 
boyhood's vow to avenge his father's death. Three of 
those men fell in that battle ; and whether or not it was he 
who laid them low, from that day on he accounted himself 
freed of his melancholy obligation. 

After several hard-fought battles. Price withdrew from 
Missouri with the remnant of his command — seven thou- 
sand where there had been twenty. 

During this campaign Will received honorable mention 
*'for most conspicuous bravery and valuable service upon 
the field," and he was shortly brought into favorable notice 



in many quarters. The worth of the tried veterans was 
known, but none of the older men was in more demand^, 
than Will. His was seemingly a charmed life. Often was! 
he detailed to bear dispatches across the battlefield, and! 
though horses were shot under him — riddled by bullets or 
torn by shells — he himself went scathless. 

During this campaign, too, he ran across his old friend 
of the plains, Wild Bill. Stopping at a farm-house one day. 
to obtain a meal, he was not a little surprised to hear the 

''Well, Billy, my boy, how are you?" 

He looked around to see a hand outstretched from i 
coat-sleeve of Confederate gray, and as he knew Wild Billl 
to be a stanch Unionist, he surmised that he was engaged 
upon an enterprise similar to his own. There was a 
exchange of chafifing about gray uniforms and blue, bu 
more serious talk followed. 

''Take these papers, Billy," said Wild Bill, passing 
over a package. "Take 'em to General McNeill, and tell 
him I'm picking up too much good nev/s to keep away" 
from the Confederate camp." 

"Don't take too many chances," cautioned Will, well; 
knowing that the only chances the other would not take* 
would be the sort that were not visible. 

Colonel Hickok, to give him his real name, replied, with 
a laugh : 

"Practice what you preach, my son. Your neck is of 
more value than mine. You have a future, but mine is 
mostly past. I'm getting old." 

At this point the good woman of the house punctuated 
the colloquy with a savory meal, which the pair discussed 
with good appetite and easy conscience, in spite of thei 
hostess's refusal to take pay from Confederate soldiers. 



''As long as I have a crust in the house," said she, 
"you boys are welcome to it." 

But the pretended Confederates paid her for her kind- 
ness in better currency than she was used to. They with- 
held information concerning a proposed visit of her husband 
and son, of which, during one spell of loquacity, she 
acquainted them. The bread she cast upon the waters 
returned to her speedily. 

The two friends parted company. Will returning to the 
Union lines, and Colonel Hickok to the opposing camp. 

A few days later, when the Confederate forces were 
closing up around the Union lines, and a battle was at 
hand, two horsemen were seen to dart out of the hostile 
camp and ride at full speed for the Northern lines. For a 
space the audacity of the escape seemed to paralyze the 
Confederates; but presently the bullets followed thick and 
fast, and one of the saddles was empty before the rescue 
party — of which Will was one — got fairly under way. As 
the survivor drew near. Will shouted : 

"It's Wild Bill, the Union scout." 

A cheer greeted the intrepid Colonel Hickok, and he 
rode into camp surrounded by a party of admirers. The 
information he brought proved of great value in the battle 
of Pilot Knob (already referred to), which almost immedi- 
ately followed. 



After the battle of Pilot Knob Will was assigned, through , 
the influence of General Polk, to special service at military 
headquarters in St. Louis. Mrs. Polk had been one of; 
mother's school friends, and the two had maintained a cor- 
respondence up to the time of mother's death. As soonj 
as Mrs. Polk learned that the son of her old friend was in 
the Union army, she interested herself in obtaining a good 
position for him. But desk-work is not a Pony Express 
rush, and Will found the St. Louis detail about as much to 
his taste as clerking in a dry-goods store. His new duties" 
naturally became intolerable, lacking the excitement and 
danger-scent which alone made his life worth while to him. 

One event, however, relieved the dead-weight monotony 
of his existence; he met Louise Frederici, the girl who 
became his wife. The courtship has been written far and 
wide with blood-and-thunder pen, attended by lariat-throw- 
ing and runaway steeds. . In reality it was a romantic affair. 

More than once, while out for a morning canter. Will 
had remarked a young woman of attractive face and figure, 
who sat her horse with the grace of Diana Vernon. Now, 
few things catch Will's eye more quickly than fine horse- 
manship. He desired to establish an acquaintance with the 
young lady, but as none of his friends knew her, he found 
it impossible. 

At length a chance came. Her bridle-rein broke one 




morning; there was a runaway, a rescue, and then acquaint- 
ance was easy. 

From war to love, or from love to war, is but a step, 
and Will lost no time in taking it. He was somewhat bet- 
ter than an apprentice to Dan Cupid. If the reader 
remembers, he went to school with Steve Gobel. True, 
his opportunities to enjoy feminine society had not been 
many, which, perhaps, accounts for the promptness with 
which he embraced them when they did arise. He became 
the accepted suitor of Miss Louise Frederici before the war 
closed and his regiment was mustered out. 

The spring of 1865 found him not yet twenty, and he 
was sensible of the fact that before he could dance at his 
own wedding he must place his worldly affairs upon a surer 
financial basis than falls to the lot of a soldier; so, much as 
he would have enjoyed remaining in St. Louis, fortune 
pointed to wider fields, and he set forth in search of 
remunerative and congenial employment. 

First, there was the visit home, where the warmest of 
welcomes awaited him. During his absence the second sis- 
ter, Eliza, had married a Mr. Myers, but the rest of us 
were at the old place, and the eagerness with which we 
awaited Will's home-coming was stimulated by the hope 
that he would remain and take charge of the estate. Before 
we broached this subject, however, he informed us of his 
engagement to Miss Frederici, which, far from awakening 
jealousy, aroused our delight, Julia voicing the sentiment 
of the family in the comment: 

''When you're married. Will, you will have to stay at 

This led to the matter of his remaining with us to man- 
age the estate — and to the upsetting of our plans. The 
pay of a soldier in the war was next to nothing, and as 



Will had been unable to put any money by, he took the 
first chance that offered to better his fortunes. 

This happened to be a job of driving horses from Leav-i 
enworth to Fort Kearny, and almost the first man he meJ 
after reaching the fort was an old plains friend, Bill Trottefi 

''You're just the chap I've been looking for," sai^ 
Trotter, when he learned that Will desired regular work. 
''I'm division station agent here, but stage-driving is dan- 
gerous work, as the route is infested with Indians and out- 
laws. Several drivers have been held up and killed lately, 
so it's not a very enticing job, but the pay's good, and you 
know the country. If any one can take the stage through, 
you can. Do you want the job?" 

When a man is in love and the wedding-day has been 
dreamed of, if not set, life takes on an added sweetness, 
and to stake it against the marksmanship of Indian or out- 
law is not, perhaps, the best use to which it may be put. 
Will had come safely through so many perils that it seemed 
folly to thrust his head into another batch of them, and 
thinking of Louise and the coming wedding-day, his first 
thought was no. 

But it was the old story, and there was Trotter at his 
elbow expressing confidence in his ability as a frontiers- 
man — an opinion Will fully shared, for a man knows what 
he can do. The pay was good, and the sooner earned the 
sooner would the wedding be, and Trotter received the 
answer he expected. 

The stage line was another of the Western enterprises 
projected by Russell, Majors & Waddell. When gold was 
discovered on Pike's Peak there was no method of travers- 
ing the great Western plain except by plodding ox-team, 
mule-pack, or stagecoach. A semi-monthly stage line ran 
from St. Joseph to Salt Lake City, but it was poorly 


equipped and very tedious, oftentimes twenty-one days 
being required to make the trip. The senior member of 
the firm, in partnership with John S. Jones, of Missouri, 
established a new line between the Missouri River and 
Denver, at that time a straggling mining hamlet. One 
thousand Kentucky mules were bought, with a sufficient 
number of coaches to insure a daily run each way. The 
trip was made in six days, which necessitated travel at the 
rate of a hundred miles a day. 

The first stage reached Denver on May 17, 1859. It 
was accounted a remarkable achievement, and the line was 
pronounced a great success. In one way it was; but the 
expense of equipping it had been enormous, and the new 
line could not meet its obligations. To save the credit of 
their senior partner, Russell, Majors & Waddell were obliged 
to come to the rescue. They bought up all the outstand- 
ing obligations, and also the rival stage line between St. 
Joseph and Salt Lake City. They consolidated the two, 
and thereby hoped to put the Overland stage route on a 
paying basis. St. Joseph now became the starting-point 
of the united lines. From there the road went to Fort 
Kearny, and followed the old Salt Lake trail, already 
described in these pages. After leaving Salt Lake it passed 
through Camp Floyd, Ruby Valley, Carson City, Placer- 
ville, and Folsom, and ended in Sacramento. 

The distance from St. Joseph to Sacramento by this 
old stage route was nearly nineteen hundred miles. The 
time required by mail contracts and the government 
schedule was nineteen days. The trip was frequently made 
in fifteen, but there were so many causes for detention 
that the limit was more often reached. 

Each two hundred and fifty miles of road was desig- 
nated a "division," and was in charge of an agent, who had 


great authority in his own jurisdiction. He was commonly 
a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and all matters 
pertaining to his division were entirely under his control. 
He hired and discharged employes, purchased horses, 
mules, harness, and food, and attended to their distribution 
at the different stations. He superintended the erection 
of all buildings, had charge of the water supply, and he 
was the paymaster. 

There was also a man known as the conductor, whose 
route was almost coincident with that of the agent. He 
sat with the driver, and often rode the whole two hundred 
and fifty miles of his division without any rest or sleep, 
except what he could catch sitting on the top of the flying 

The coach itself was a roomy, swaying vehicle, swung 
on thorough-braces instead of springs. It always had a 
six-horse or six-mule team to draw it, and the speed was 
nerve-breaking. Passengers were allowed twenty-five 
pounds of baggage, and that, with the mail, express, 
and the passengers themselves, was in charge of the 

The Overland stagecoaches were operated at a loss 
until 1862. In March of that year Russell, Majors & 
Waddell transferred the whole outfit to Ben Holliday. 
Here was a typical frontiersman, of great individuality and 
character. At the time he took charge of the route the 
United States mail was given to it. This put the line on a 
sound financial basis, as the government spent $800,000 
yearly in transporting the mail to San Francisco. 

Will reported for duty the morning after his talk with 
Trotter, and when he mounted the stage-box and gathered 
the reins over the six spirited horses, the passengers were 
assured of an expert driver. 



His run was from Fort Kearny to Plum Creek. The 
country was sharply familiar. It was the scene of his first 
encounter with Indians. A long and lonely ride it was, 
and a dismal one when the weather turned cold ; but it 
meant a hundred and fifty dollars a month, and each pay 
day brought him nearer to St. Louis. 

Indian signs there had been right along, but they were 
only signs until one bleak day in November. He pulled 
out of Plum Creek with a sharp warning ringing in his 
ears. Indians were on the war-path, and trouble was more 
likely than not ahead. Lieutenant Flowers, assistant divi- 
sion agent, was on the box with him, and within the coach 
were six well-armed passengers. 

Half the run had been covered, when Will's experi- 
enced eye detected the promised red men. Before him lay 
a stream which must be forded. The creek was densely 
fringed with underbrush, and along this the Indians were 
skulking, expecting to cut the stage off at the only possible 

Perhaps this is a good place to say a word concerning 
the seemingly extraordinary fortune that has stood by Will 
in his adventures. Not only have his own many escapes 
been of the hairbreadth sort, but he has arrived on the 
scene of danger at just the right moment to rescue others 
from extinction. Of course, an element of luck has entered 
into these affairs, but for the most part they simply proved 
the old saying that an ounce of prevention is better than a 
pound of cure. Will had studied the plains as an astrono- 
mer studies the heavens. The slightest disarrangement of 
the natural order of things caught his eye. With the 
astronomer, it is a comet or an asteroid appearing upon a 
field whose every object has long since been placed and 
studied; with Will, it was a feathered headdress where 


there should have been but tree, or rock, or grass ; a mov 
ing figure where nature should have been inanimate. 

When seen, those things were calculated as the astron- 
omer calculates the motion of the objects that he studies. 
A planet will arrive at a given place at a certain time; an 
Indian will reach a ford in a stream in about so many ! 
minutes. If there be time to cross before him, it is a mat- 1 
ter of hard driving; if the odds are with the Indian, that is j 
another matter. ^ 

A less experienced observer than Will would not have 
seen the skulking redskins; a less skilled frontiersman 
would not have apprehended their design; a less expert 
driver would not have taken the running chance for life; a 
less accurate marksman would not have picked off an Indian ^ 
with a rifle while shooting from the top of a swinging, jerk- 
ing stagecoach. k 

Will did not hesitate. A warning shout to the passen- } 
gers, and the whip was laid on, and off went the horses ^ 
full speed. Seeing that they had been discovered, the ^. 
Indians came out into the open, and ran their ponies for ~ 
the ford, but the stage was there full five hundred yards | 
before them. It was characteristic of their driver that the \ 
horses were suffered to pause at the creek long enough to 
get a swallow of water; then, refreshed, they were off at ^ 
full speed again. ^ 

The coach, creaking in every joint, rocked like a cap- ■ 
tive balloon, the unhappy passengers were hurled from one ■■ 
side of the vehicle to the other, flung into one another's | 
laps, and occasionally, when some uncommon obstacle ^ 
sought to check the flying coach, their heads collided with 
its roof. The Indians menaced them without, cracked ^ 
skulls seemed their fate within. ^ 

Will plied the whip relentlessly, and so nobly did the ■ 



powerful horses respond that the Indians gained but 
slowly on them. There were some fifty redskins in the 
band, but Will assumed that if he could reach the relay 
station, the two stock-tenders there, with himself. Lieu- 
tenant Flowers, and the passengers, would be more than 
a match for the marauders. 

When the pursuers drew within fair rifle range, Will 
handed the reins to the lieutenant, swung round in his 
seat, and fired at the chief. 

"There," shouted one of the passengers, ''that fellow 
with the feathers is shot!" and another fusillade from the 
coach interior drove holes in the air. 

The relay station was now hard by, and attracted by 
the firing, the stock-tenders came forth to take a hand in 
the engagement. Disheartened by the fall of their chief, 
the Indians weakened at the sign of reinforcements, and 
gave up the pursuit. 

Lieutenant Flowers and two of the passengers were 
wounded, but Will could not repress a smile at the excited 
assurance of one of his fares that they (the passengers) had 
''killed one Indian and driven the rest back." The stock- 
tenders smiled also, but said nothing. It would have been 
too bad to spoil such a good story. 

The gravest fears for the safety of the coach had been 
expressed when it was known that the reds were on the 
war-path; it was not thought possible that it could get 
through unharmed, and troops were sent out to scour the 
country. These, while too late to render service in the 
adventure just related, did good work during the remainder 
of the winter. The Indians were thoroughly subdued, and 
Will saw no more of them. 

There was no other adventure of special note until Feb- 
ruary. Just before Will started on his run. Trotter took 


him to one side and advised him that a small fortune w; 
going by the coach that day, and extra vigilance was urged,' 
as the existence of the treasure might have become known. 

''I'll do the best I can," said Will; and he had scarcely 5 
driven away when he suspected the two ill-favored passen-J 
gers he carried. The sudden calling away of the conduc- 4 
tor, whereby he was left alone, was a suspicious circum- ^ 
stance. He properly decided that it would be wiser for 
him to hold up his passengers than to let them hold up< 
him, and he proceeded to take time by the forelock. Ha 
stopped the coach, jumped down, and examined the har- 
ness as if something was wrong; then he stepped to the 
coach door and asked his passengers to hand him a rop€( 
that was inside. As they complied, they looked into the 
barrels of two cocked revolvers. 

''Hands up!" said Will. ' 

"What's the matter with you?" demanded one of the^ 
pair, as their arms were raised. I 

"Thought I'd come in first — that's all," was the^ 
answer. m 

The other was not without appreciation of humor. ^ 

"You're acute one, youngster," said he, "but you'llj 
find more'n your match down the road, or I miss my guess.*** 

"I'll look after that when I get to it," said Will.| 
"Will you oblige me by tying your friend's hands? Thank | 
you. Now throw out your guns. That all? All right, j 
Let me see your hands." j 

When both outlaws had been securely trussed up and| 
proven to be disarmed, the journey was resumed. TheJ 
remark dropped by one of the pair was evidence that they% 
were part of the gang. He must reach the relay station 'J 
before the attack. If he could do that, he had a plan for j 
farther on. | 


The relay station was not far away, and was safely 
reached. The prisoners were turned over to the stock- 
tenders, and then Will disposed of the treasure against 
future molestation. He cut open one of the cushions of 
the coach, taking out part of the filling, and in the cavity 
thus made stored everything of value, including his own 
watch and pocketbook; then the filling was replaced and 
the hole smoothed to a natural appearance. 

If there were more in the gang, he looked for them at 
the ford where the Indians had sought to cut him off, and 
he was not disappointed. As he drew near the growth of 
willows that bordered the road, half a dozen men with 
menacing rifles stepped out. 

''Halt, or you're a dead man!" was the conventional 
salutation, in this case graciously received. 

''Well, what do you want?" asked Will. 

"The boodle you carry. Fork it over!" 

"Gentlemen," said Will, smiling, "this is a case where 
it takes a thief to catch a thief." 

"What's that?" cried one of the outlaws, his feelings 
outraged by the frank description. 

"Not that I'm the thief," continued Will, "but your . 
pals were one too many for you this time." 

"Did they rob you?" howled the gang in chorus, 
shocked by such depravity on the part of their comrades. 

"If there's anything left in the coach worth having, 
don't hesitate to take it," offered Will, pleasantly. 

"Where's your strong-box?" demanded the outlaws, 
loath to believe there was no honor among thieves. 

Will drew it forth and exposed its melancholy empti- 
ness. The profanity that ensued was positively shocking. 

"Where did they hold you up?" demanded the leader 
of the gang. 



Eight or nine miles back. You'll find some straw in 
the road. You can have that, too." 
"Were there horses to meet them?" 
''On foot the last I saw them." 

''Then we can catch 'em, boys," shouted the leader, ; 
hope upspringing in his breast. "Come, let's be off!" | 

They started for the willows on the jump, and presently | 
returned, spurring their horses. y 

"Give them my regards!" shouted Will. But only the j, 
thud! thud! of horsehoofs answered him. Retribution was ) 
sweeping like a hawk upon its prey. i 

Will pushed along to the end of his run, and handed 
over his trust undisturbed. Fearing that his ruse might* 
have been discovered, he put the "extra vigilance" urged 
by Trotter into the return trip, but the trail was deserted. } 
He picked up the prisoners at the relay station and carried I 
them to Fort Kearny. If their companions were to dis- 
cover the sorry trick played upon them, they would have'? 
demanded his life as a sacrifice. | 

At the end of this exciting trip he found a letter from I' 
Miss Frederici awaiting him. She urged him to give up i 
the wild life he was leading, return East, and find another 
calling. This was precisely what Will himself had in mind, 
and persuasion was not needed. In his reply he asked that j 
the wedding-day be set, and then he handed Trotter his ) 
resignation from the lofty perch of a stage-driver. : 

"I don't like to let you go," objected Trotter. ^ 

"But," said Will, "I took the job only in order to save j 
enough money to get married on." j 

"In that case," said Trotter, "I have nothing to do ^ 
but wish you joy," ^ 





When Will reached home, he found another letter from 
Miss Frederici, who, agreeably to his request, had fixed 
the wedding-day, March 6, 1866. 

The wedding ceremony was quietly performed at the 
home of the bride, and the large number of friends that 
witnessed it united in declaring that no handsomer couple 
ever bowed for Hymen's benediction. 

The bridal journey was a trip to Leavenworth on a Mis- 
souri steamer. At that time there was much travel by 
these boats, and their equipment was first-class. They 
were sumptuously fitted out, the table was excellent, and 
except when sectional animosities disturbed the serenity of 
their decks, a trip on one of them was a very pleasant 

The young benedict soon discovered, however, that in 
war times the ''trail of the serpent" is liable to be over all 
things; even a wedding journey is not exempt from the 
baneful influence of sectional animosity. A party of excur- 
sionists on board the steamer manifested so extreme an 
interest in the bridal couple that Louise retired to a state- 
room to escape their rudeness. After her withdrawal. Will 
entered into conversation with a gentleman from Indiana, 
who had been very polite to him, and asked him if he 
knew the reason for the insolence of the excursion party. 
The gentleman hesitated a moment, and then answered : 




"To tell the truth, Mr. Cody, these men are Missourians 
and say they recognize you as one of Jennison's Jayhawk-^ 
ers; that you were an enemy of the South, and are, there-'^ 
fore, an enemy of theirs. ' ' s 

Will answered, steadily: was a soldier during the - 
war, and a scout in the Union army, but I had some! 
experience of Southern chivalry before that time." And* 
he related to the Indianian some of the incidents of the'^ 
early Kansas border warfare, in which he and his father had^ 
played so prominent a part. 

The next day the insolent behavior was continued.^ 
Will was much inclined to resent it, but his wife pleaded so| 
earnestly with him to take no notice of it that he ignored it^ 

In the afternoon, when the boat landed at a lonely spoti 
to wood up, the Missourians seemed greatly excited, andj 
all gathered on the guards and anxiously scanned the river- ^ 
bank. < 

The roustabouts were just about to make the boat fast,! 
when a party of armed horsemen dashed out of the woo 
and galloped toward the landing. The captain thought^ 
the boat was to be attacked, and hastily gave orders to? 
back out, calling the crew on board at the same time. : 
These orders the negroes lost no time in obeying, as they^ 
often suffered severely at the hands of these reckless.; 
marauders. The leader of the horsemen rode rapidly up,< 
firing at random. As he neared the steamer he called^ 
out, ''Where is that Kansas Jayhawker? We have come* 
for him." The other men caught sight of Will, and on^ 
of them cried, "We know you. Bill Cody." But they^- 
were too late. Already the steamer was backing away: 
from the shore, dragging her gang-plank through the water;; 
the negro roustabouts were too much terrified to pull it in.i 
When the attacking party saw their plans were frustrated,! 


and that they were balked of their prey, they gave vent to 
their disappointment in yells of rage. A random volley 
was fired at the retreating steamer, but it soon got out of 
range, and continued on its way up the river. 

Will had prepared himself for the worst; he stood, 
revolver in hand, at the head of the steps, ready to dispute 
the way with his foes. 

There was also a party of old soldiers on board, six or 
eight in number; they were dressed in civilians' garb, and 
Will knew nothing of them ; but when they heard of their 
comrade's predicament, they hastily prepared to back up 
the young scout. Happily the danger was averted, and 
their services were not called into requisition. The 
remainder of the trip was made without unpleasant incident. 

It was afterward learned that as soon as. the Missouri- 
ans became aware of the presence of the Union scout on 
board, they telegraphed ahead to the James and Younger 
brothers that Will was aboard the boat, and asked to have 
a party meet it at this secluded landing, and capture and 
carry off the young soldier. Will feared that Louise might 
be somewhat disheartened by such an occurrence on the 
bridal trip, but the welcome accorded the young couple on 
their arrival at Leavenworth was flattering enough to make 
amends for all unpleasant incidents. The young wife 
found that her husband numbered his friends by the score 
in his own home, and in the grand reception tendered them 
he was the lion of the hour. 

Entreated by Louise to abandon the plains and pursue 
a vocation along more peaceful paths, Will conceived the 
idea of taking up the business in which mother had won 
financial success — that of landlord. The house she had 
built was purchased after her death by Dr. Crook, a sur- 
geon in the Seventh Kansas Regiment. It was now for 



rent, which fact no doubt decided Will in his choice of an " 
occupation. It was good to live again under the roof that; 
had sheltered his mother in her last days; it was good to 
see the young wife amid the old scenes. So Will turned 
boniface, and invited May and me to make our home with 

There was a baby in Julia's home, and it had so wound 
itself around May's heartstrings that she could not be 
enticed away; but there was never anybody who could 
supplant Will in my heart; so I gladly accepted his invita-* 
tion. I 

Thoreau has somewhere drawn a sympathetic portrait! 
of the Landlord, who is supposed to radiate hospitality as; 
the sun throws off heat — as its own reward — and who feeds 5 
and lodges men purely from a love of the creatures. Yet| 
even such a landlord, if he is to continue long in business,! 
must have an eye to profit, and make up in one corner''- 
what he parts with in another. Now, Will radiated hos-J 
pitality, and his reputation as a lover of his fellowman got^ 
so widely abroad that travelers without money and without f 
price would go miles out of their way to put up at his tav-.^ 
ern. Socially, he was an irreproachable landlord ; financially, ' 
his shortcomings were deplorable. 

And then the life of an innkeeper, while not without J 
its joys and opportunities to love one's fellowman, is^ 
somewhat prosaic, and our guests oftentimes remarked anij 
absent, far-away expression in the eyes of Landlord Cody. - 
He was thinking of the plains. Louise also remarked that j 
expression, and the sympathy she felt for his yearnings was"* 
accentuated by an examination of the books of the hostelry . 
at the close of the first six months' business. Half smil-i 
ing, half tearful, she consented to his return to his West-^ 
ern life, i 



Will disposed of the house and settled his affairs, and 
when all the bills were paid, and Sister Lou and I cozily 
ensconced in a little home at Leavenworth, we found that 
Will's generous thought for our comfort through the winter 
had left him on the beach financially. He had planned a 
freighting trip on his own account, but the acquiring of a 
team, wagon, and the rest of the outfit presented a knotty 
problem when he counted over the few dollars left on hand. 

For the first time I saw disappointment and discourage- 
ment written on his face, and I was sorely distressed, for 
he had never denied me a desire that he could gratify, and 
it was partly on my account that he was not in better 
financial condition. I was not yet sixteen ; it would be two 
years more before I could have a say as to the disposition 
of my own money, yet something must be done at once. 

I decided to lay the matter before Lawyer Douglass. 
Surely he could suggest some plan whereby I might assist 
my brother. I had a half-matured plan of my own, but I 
was assured that Will would not listen to it. 

Mr. Douglass had been the legal adviser of the family 
since he won our first lawsuit, years before. We consid- 
ered the problem from every side, and the lawyer suggested 
that Mr. Buckley, an old friend of the family, had a team 
and wagon for sale ; they were strong and serviceable, and 
just the thing that Will would likely want. I was a minor, 
but if Mr. Buckley was willing to accept me as security for 
the property, there would be no difficulty in making the 

Mr. Buckley proved entirely agreeable to the proposi 
tion. Will could have the outfit in return for his note with 
my indorsement. 

That disposed of, the question of freight to put into 
the wagon arose. I thought of another old friend of the 


family, M. E. Albright, a wholesale grocer in Leavenwortlfe 
Would he trust Will for a load of supplies? He would. 

Thus everything was arranged satisfactorily, and I has- 
tened home to not the easiest task — to prevail upon Will to 
accept assistance at the hands of the little sister who, not 
so long ago, had employed his aid in the matter of a pair 
of shoes. 

But Will could really do nothing save accept, and proud 
and happy, he sallied forth one day as an individual 
freighter, though not a very formidable rival of RussellJ 
Majors & Waddell. \ 

Alas for enterprises started on borrowed capital! Howj 
many of them end in disaster, leaving their projectors not. 
only penniless, but in debt. Our young frontiersman, ^ 
whose life had been spent in protecting the property oh 
others, was powerless to save his own. Wagon, horses, 
and freight were all captured by Indians, and their owneil 
barely escaped with his life. From a safe covert he 
watched the redskins plunge him into bankruptcy. It took 
him several years to recover, and he has often remarked 
that the responsibility of his first business venture on bor- 
rowed capital aged him prematurely. 

The nearest station to the scene of this disaster was- 
Junction City, and thither he tramped, in the hope o{| 
retrieving his fortunes. There he met Colonel Hickok,| 
and in the pleasure of the greeting forgot his business ruiii| 
for a space. The story of his marriage and his stirring 
adventures as a landlord and lover of his fellowman were| 
first to be related, and when these were commented upon,| 
and his old friend had learned, too, of the wreck of thei 
freighting enterprise, there came the usual inquiry : 

''And now, do you know of a job with some money^ 
in it?" 


''There isn't exactly a fortune in it," said Wild Bill, 
''but I'm scouting for Uncle Sam at Fort Ellsworth. The 
commandant needs more scouts, and I can vouch for you 
as a good one. 

"All right," said Will, always quick in decision; "I'll 
go along with you, and apply for a job at once." 

He was pleased to have Colonel Hickok's recommenda- 
tion, but it turned out that he did not need it, as his own 
reputation had preceded him. The commandant of the 
fort was glad to add him to the force. The territory he 
had to scout over lay between Forts Ellsworth and 
Fletcher, and he alternated between those points through- 
out the winter. 

It was at Fort Fletcher, in the spring of 1867, that he 
fell in with the dashing General Custer, and the friendship 
established between them was ended only by the death of 
the general at the head of his gallant three hundred. 

This spring was an exceedingly wet one, and the fort, 
which lay upon the bank of Big Creek, was so damaged by 
floods that it was abandoned. A new fort was erected, 
some distance to the westward, on the south fork of the 
creek, and was named Fort Hayes. 

Returning one day from an extended scouting trip, 
Will discovered signs indicating that Indians in consider- 
able force were in the neighborhood. He at once pushed 
forward at all speed to report the news, when a second dis- 
covery took the wind out of his sails; the hostiles were 
between him and the fort. 

At that moment a party of horsemen broke into view, 
and seeing they were white men. Will waited their 
approach. The little band proved to be General Custer 
and an escort of ten, en route from Fort Ellsworth to Fort 


Informed by Will that they were cut off by Indians, and 
that the only hope of escape lay in a rapid flank movement, 
Custer's reply was a terse: 

''Lead on, scout, and we'll follow." ? 

Will wheeled, clapped spurs to his horse, and dashed j 
away, with the others close behind. All hands were suffi- ' 
ciently versed in Indian warfare to appreciate the serious- j 
ness of their position. They pursued a roundabout trail, | 
and reached the fort without seeing a hostile, but learned ! 
from the reports of others that their escape had been a ! 
narrow one. ; 

Custer was on his way to Larned, sixty miles distant, \ 
and he needed a guide. He requested that Will be I 
assigned to the position, so pleased was he by the service j 
already rendered. 

''The very man I proposed to send with you. General," 
said the commandant, who knew well the keen desire of 
the Indians to get at "Yellow Hair," as they called 
Custer. "Cody knows this part of the country like a 
book; he is up to all the Indian games, and he is as full of, 
resources as a nut is of meat." 

At daybreak the start was made, and it was planned to ! 
cover the sixty miles before nightfall. Will was mounted ' 
on a mouse-colored mule, to which he was much attached, ! 
and in which he had every confidence. Custer, however, 
was disposed to regard the lowly steed in some disdain. 

"Do you think, Cody, that mule can set the pace to 
reach Larned in a day?" he asked. 

"When you get to Larned, General," smiled Will, "the 
mule and I will be with you." 

Custer said no more for a while, but the pace he set 
was eloquent, and the mouse-colored mule had to runi 
under "forced draught" to keep up with the procession.! 



It was a killing pace, too, for the horses, which did not 
possess the staying power of the mule. Will was half 
regretting that he had ridden the animal, and was wonder- 
ing how he could crowd on another pound or two of steam, 
when, suddenly glancing at Custer, he caught a gleam of 
mischief in the general's eye. Plainly the latter was seek- 
ing to compel an acknowledgment of error, but Will only 
patted the mouse-colored flanks. 

Fifteen miles were told off ; Custer's thoroughbred 
horse was still in fine fettle, but the mule had got the 
second of its three or four winds, and was ready for a cen- 
tury run. 

"Can you push along a little faster, General?" asked 
Will, slyly. 

*'If that mule of yours can stand it, go ahead," was the 

To the general's surprise, the long-eared animal did go 
ahead, and when the party got into the hills, and the trav- 
eling grew heavy, it set a pace that seriously annoyed 
the general's thoroughbred. 

Fifteen miles more were pounded out, and a halt was 
called for luncheon. The horses needed the rest, but the 
mouse-colored mule wore an impatient expression. Hav- 
ing got its third wind, it wanted to use it. 

"Well, General," said Will, when they swung off on 
the trail again, "what do you think of my mount?" 

Custer laughed. "It's not very handsome," said he, 
**but it seems to know what it's about, and so does the 
rider. You're a fine guide, Cody. Like the Indian, you 
seem to go by instinct, rather than by trails and landmarks." 

The praise of Custer was sweeter to the young scout 
than that of any other ofificer on the plains would have 


At just four o'clock the mouse-colored mule joggej 
into Fort Larned and waved a triumphant pair of ears, i 
short distance behind rode Custer, on a thoroughly tire 
thoroughbred, while the escort was strung along the tra 
for a mile back. 

''Cody," laughed the general, ''that remarkable quad 
ruped of yours looks equal to a return trip. Our horse 
are pretty well fagged out, but we have made a quick trf' 
and a good one. You brought us 'cross country straigl 
as the crow flies, and that's the sort of service I appreciati 
Any time you're in need of work, report to me. I'll s( 
that you're kept busy." 

It was Custer's intention to remain at Fort Larned f( 
some time, and Will, knowing that he was needed i 
Hayes, tarried only for supper and a short rest befo 
starting back. 

When night fell, he proceeded warily. On the way o 
he had directed Custer's attention to signs denoting tl 
near-by presence of a small band of mounted Indians. 

Suddenly a distant light flashed into view, but befa 
he could check his mule it had vanished. He rode back 
few paces, and the light reappeared. Evidently it was vi 
ible through some narrow space, and the matter called foi 
investigation. Will dismounted, hitched his mule, am 
went forward. 

After he had covered half a mile, he found himsell 
between two sandhills, the pass leading into a little hollow, 
within which were a large number of Indians camped arounc 
the fire whose light he had followed. The ponies were ir 
the background. t 

Will's position was somewhat ticklish, as, without t 
doubt, an Indian sentinel was posted in the pass; yet ii 
was his duty, as he understood it, to obtain a measurabl} 




ccurate estimate of the number of warriors in the band, 
limself a very Indian in stealth, he drew nearer the 
amp-fire, when suddenly there rang out upon the night 
ir — not a rifle-shot, but the unearthly braying of his 

Even in the daylight, amid scenes of peace and tran- 
quillity, the voice of a mule falls short of the not enchant- 
ig music of the bagpipe. At night in the wilderness, 
/hen every nerve is keyed up to the snapping-point, the 
ound is simply appalling. 

Will was startled, naturally, but the Indians were 
brown into dire confusion. They smothered the camp- 
ires and scattered for cover, while a sentinel sprang up 
Tom behind a rock not twenty feet from Will, and was off 
ike a deer. 

The scout held his ground till he had made a good 
^uess at the number of Indians in the party; then he ran 
or his mule, whose voice, raised in seeming protest, guided 
lim unerringly. 

As he neared the animal he saw that two mounted 
ndians had laid hold of it, and were trying to induce it to 
ollow them; but the mule, true to tradition and its master, 
itubbornly refused to budge a foot. 

It was a comical tableau, but Will realized that it was 
)ut a step from farce to tragedy. A rifle-shot dropped 
)ne of the Indians, and the other darted off into the dark- 

Another bray from the mule, this time a paean of tri- 
umph, as Will jumped into the saddle, with an arrow from 
:he bow of the wounded Indian through his coat-sleeve. 
He declined to return the fire of the wounded wretch, and 
rode away into the timber, while all around the sound of 
Indians in pursuit came to his ears. 



''Now, my mouse-colored friend," said Will, **if you 
win this race your name is Custer." 

The mule seemed to understand; at all events, it settled Ll 
down to work that combined the speedy of a racer with the 
endurance of a buffalo. The Indians shortly abandoned^ 
the pursuit, as they could not see their game. 

Will reached Fort Hayes in the early morning, to report | 
the safe arrival of Custer at Larned and the discovery of| 
the Indian band, which he estimated at two hundred braves. ;j 
The mule received "honorable mention" in his report, and^ 
was brevetted a thoroughbred. • 

The colonel prepared to dispatch troops against the \ 
Indians, and requested Will to guide the expedition, if he 1 
were sufficiently rested, adding, with a smile: ; 

''You may ride your mule if you like." ,i 

"No, thank you," laughed Will. "It isn't safe, sir, to | 
hunt Indians with an animal that carries a brass-band i 
attachment." | 

Captain George A. Armes, of the Tenth Cavalry, was I 
to command the expedition, which comprised a troop of i 
colored cavalry and a howitzer. As the command lined \ 
up for the start, a courier on a foam-splashed horse rode • 
up with the news that the workmen on the Kansas Pacific I 
Railroad had been attacked by Indians, six of them killed, i 
and over a hundred horses and mules and a quantity of j 
stores stolen. ^ 

The troops rode away, the colored boys panting for a 
chance at the redskins, and Captain Armes more than will- j 
ing to gratify them. i 

At nightfall the command made camp near the Saline \ 
River, at which point it was expected to find the Indians. ' 
Before dawn they were in the saddle again, riding straight | 




icross country, regardless of trails, until the river was come 
jp with. 

Will's judgment was again verified by the discovery of 
a large camp of hostiles on the opposite bank of the stream. 
The warriors were as quick of eye, and as they greatly 
outnumbered the soldiers, and were emboldened by the 
success of their late exploit, they did not wait the attack, 
but came charging across the river. 

They were nearly a mile distant, and Captain Armes 
had time to plant the howitzer on a little rise of ground. 
Twenty men were left to handle it. The rest of the com- 
mand advanced to the combat. 

They were just at the point of attack when a fierce yell- 
ing was heard in the rear, and the captain discovered that 
his retreat to the gun was cut off by another band of reds, 
and that he was between two fires. His only course was 
to repulse the enemy in front. If this were done, and the 
colored gunners did not flee before the overwhelming num- 
bers, he might unite his forces by another charge. 

The warriors came on with their usual impetuosity, 
whooping and screaming, but they met such a raking fire 
from the disciplined troops that they fell back in disorder. 
Just then the men at the howitzer opened fire. The 
effect of this field-piece on the children of the plains was 
: magical — almost ludicrous. A veritable stampede followed. 

''Follow me!" shouted Captain Armes, galloping in pur- 
suit; but in their eagerness to give chase the troops fell into 
such disorder that a bugle-blast recalled them before any 
further damage was done the flying foe. The Indians kept 
right along, however; they were pretty badly frightened, 
j Captain Armes was somewhat chagrined that he had no 
! prisoners, but there was consolation in taking back nearly 



all the horses that had been stolen. These were found |; 
picketed at the camp across the river, where likely they ii 
had been forgotten by the Indians in their flight. l" 

Shortly after this, Will tried his hand at land specula- 1] 
tion. During one of his scouting trips to Fort Harker, he 1 
visited Ellsworth, a new settlement, three miles from the ii 
fort. There he met a man named Rose, who had a grad- 
ing contract for the Kansas Pacific Railroad, near Fort 
Hayes. Rose had bought land at a point through which 
the railroad was to run, and proposed staking it out as a ! 
town, but he needed a partner in the enterprise. 

The site was a good one. Big Creek was hard by, and 
it was near enough to the fort to afford settlers reasonable 
security against Indian raids. Will regarded the enterprise 
favorably. Besides the money sent home each month, he 
had put by a small sum, and this he invested in the part] 
nership with Rose. 

The town site was surveyed and staked off into lots; 
cabin was erected, and stocked with such goods as ad 
needed on the frontier, and the budding metropolis wa? 
weighted with the classic name of Rome. 

As an encourgement to settlers, a lot was offered to anj 
one that would agree to erect a building. The proprietors) 
of course, reserved the choicest lots. ; 

Rome boomed. Two hundred cabins went up in lesi 
than sixty days. Mr. Rose and Will shook hands anc 
complimented each other on their penetration and businesis 
sagacity. They were coming millionaires, they said. Alasl^ 
they were but babes in the woods. i 

One day Dr. W. E. Webb alighted in Rome. He wasj 
a gentleman of most amiable exterior, and when he entere^ 
the store of Rose & Cody they prepared to dispose of 
large bill of goods. But Dr. Webb was not buying gro-^ 


ceries. He chatted a while about the weather and Rome, 
and then suggested that the firm needed a third partner, 
j But this was the last thing the prospective millionaires had 
j in mind, and the suggestion of their visitor was mildly but 
firmly waived. 

Dr. Webb was not a gentleman to insist upon a sugges- 
tion. He was locating towns for the Kansas Pacific Rail- 
road, he said, and as Rome was well started, he disliked to 
interfere with it ; but, really, the company must have a 

Neither Mr. Rose nor Will had had experience with 
the power of a big corporation, and satisfied that they had 
the only good site for a town in that vicinity, they declared 
that the railroad could not help itself. 

Dr. Webb smiled pleasantly, and not without compas- 
sion. ''Look out for yourselves," said he, as he took his 

And within sight of Rome he located a new town. 
The citizens of Rome were given to understand that the 
railroad shops would be built at the new settlement, and 
that there was really nothing to prevent it becoming the 
metropolis of Kansas. 

Rome became a wilderness. Its citizens stampeded to 
the new town, and Mr. Rose and W^ill revised their 
estimate of their penetration and business sagacity. 

Meantime, the home in Leavenworth had been glad- 
dened by the birth of a little daughter, whom her father 
named Arta. As it was impossible for Will to return for 
some months, it was planned that the mother, the baby, 
and I should make a visit to the St. Louis home. This was 
accomplished safely; and while the grandparents were en- 
raptured with the baby, I was enjoying the delight of a 
first visit to a large city. 



While the new town of Rome was regarded as ai 

assured success by Will, he had journeyed to St. Louis aftet 
his wife and little one. They proceeded with him to the 
cozy cabin home he had fitted up, while I went back t( 
Leavenworth. i 
After the fall of Rome the little frontier home was n< 
longer the desirable residence that Will's dreams hac 
pictured it, and as Rome passed into oblivion the litth 
family returned to St. Louis. 






In frontier days a man had but to ask for work to get it. 
There was enough and to spare for every one. The work 
that paid best was the kind that suited Will, it mattered 
not how hard or dangerous it might be. 

At the time Rome fell, the work on the Kansas Pacific 
Railroad was pushing forward at a rapid rate, and the 
junior member of the once prosperous firm of Rose & Cody 
saw a new field of activity open for him — that of buffalo- 
hunting. Twelve hundred men were employed on the 
railroad construction, and Goddard Brothers, who had 
undertaken to board the vast crew, were hard pressed to 
obtain fresh meat. To supply this indispensable, buffalo- 
hunters were employed, and as Will was known to be an 
expert buffalo-slayer, Goddard Brothers were glad to add 
him to their "commissary staff." His contract with them 
called for an average of twelve buffaloes daily, for which 
he was to receive five hundred dollars a month. It was 
"good pay," the desired feature, but the work was hard 
and hazardous. He must first scour the country for his 
game, with a good prospect always of finding Indians 
instead of buffalo; then, when the game was shot, he must 
oversee its cutting and dressing, and look after the wagons 
that transported it to the camp where the workmen messed. 
It was while working under this contract that he acquired 
the sobriquet of "Buffalo Bill." It clung to him ever 



after, and he wore it with more pride than he would ha^ 
done the title of prince or grand duke. Probably there 
are thousands of people to-day who know him by that 
name only. 

At the outset he procured a trained buffalo-hunting 
horse, which went by the unconventional name of Brig- 
ham," and from the government he obtained an improved 
breech-loading needle-gun, which, in testimony of its mur- 
derous qualities, he named ''Lucretia Borgia." 

Buffaloes were usually plentiful enough, but there were 
times when the camp supply of meat ran short. During^ 
one of these dull spells, when the company was pressed foil 
horses, Brigham was hitched to a scraper. One can 
imagine his indignation. A racer dragging a street-cai 
would have no more just cause for rebellion than a buffalo: 
hunter tied to a work implement in the company of stupi< 
horses that never had a thought above a plow, a hay-rakej 
or a scraper. Brigham expostulated, and in such plair 
language, that Will, laughing, was on the point of unhitch- 
ing him, when a cry went up — the equivalent of a whaler's 
''There she blows!'* — that a herd of buffaloes was coming 
over the hill. 

Brigham and the scraper parted company instantly, anc 
Will mounted him bareback, the saddle being at the camp, 
a mile away. Shouting an order to the men to follow him 
with a wagon to take back the meat, he galloped towardj 
the game. 

There were other hunters that day. Five officers rode 
out from the neighboring fort, and joined Will while wait-l 
ing for the buffaloes to come up. They were recent arrivals^ 
in that part of the country, and their shoulder-straps indi-> 
cated that one was a captain and the others were lieuten-J 
ants. They did not know "Buffalo Bill." They sawj 


nothing but a good-looking young fellow, in the dress of a 
working man, astride a not handsome horse, which had 
a blind bridle and no saddle. It was not a formidable- 
looking hunting outfit, and the captain was disposed to be 
a trifle patronizing. 

"Hello!" he called out. ''I see you're after the same 
game we are." 

"Yes, sir," returned Will. "Our camp's out of fresh 

The ofificer ran a critical eye over Brigham. "Do you 
expect to run down a buffalo with a horse like that?" 
said he. 

"Why," said Will, innocently, "are buffaloes pretty 

"Speedy? It takes a fast horse to overhaul those ani- 
mals on the open prairie." 

"Does it?'* said Will; and the officer did not see the 
twinkle in his eye. Nothing amuses a man more than to 
be instructed on a matter that he knows thoroughly, and 
concerning which his instructor knows nothing. Probably 
every one of the officers had yet to shoot his first bufTalo. 

"Come along with us," offered the captain, graciously. 
"We're going to kill a few for sport, and all we care for 
are the tongues and a chunk of the tenderloin ; you can 
have the rest." 

"Thank you," said Will. "I'll follow along." 

There were eleven buffaloes in the herd, and the officers 
started after them as if they had a sure thing on the entire 
number. Will noticed that the game was pointed toward 
a creek, and understanding "the nature of the beast," 
started for the water, to head them off. 

As the herd went past him, with the military quintet 
five hundred yards in the rear, he gave Brigham 's blind 


bridle a twitch, and in a few jumps the trained hunter was 
at the side of the rear buffalo ; Lucretia Borgia spoke, and 
the buffalo fell dead. Without even a bridle signal, Brig- 
ham was promptly at the side of the next buffalo, not ten 
feet away, and this, too, fell at the first shot. The 
maneuver was repeated until the last buffalo went down. 
Twelve shots had been fired; then Brigham, who never 
wasted his strength, stopped. The officers had not had !^ 
even a shot at the game. Astonishment was written on 
their faces as they rode up. ^ 

''Gentlemen," said Will, courteously, as he dis- 
mounted, ''allow me to present you with eleven tongues I 
and as much of the tenderloin as you wish." | 

"By Jove!" exclaimed the captain, "I never saw any- | 
thing like that before. Who are you, anyway?" J 

"Bill Cody's my name." | 

"Well, Bill Cody, you know how to kill buffalo, and 'i 
that horse of yours has some good running points, after all." J 

"One or two." smiled Will. ^ 

Captain Graham — as his name proved to be — and his | 
companions were a trifle sore over missing even the oppor- j 
tunity of a shot, but they professed to be more than repaid 5 
for their disappointment by witnessing a feat they had not j 
supposed possible in a white man — hunting buffalo without ■ 
a saddle, bridle, or reins. Will explained that Brigham \ 
knew more about the business than most two-legged 1 
hunters. All the rider was expected to do was to shoot : 
the buffalo. If the first shot failed, Brigham allowed | 
another; if this, too, failed, Brigham lost patience, and : 
was as likely as not to drop the matter then and there. ' 

It was this episode that fastened the name of "Buffalo ] 
Bill" upon Will, and learning of it, the friends of Billy : 
Comstock, chief of scouts at Fort Wallace, filed a protest. | 



Comstock, they said, was Cody's superior as a buffalo- 
hunter. So a match was arranged to determine whether it 
should be ''Buffalo Bill" Cody or ''Buffalo Bill" Comstock. 

The hunting-ground was fixed near Sheridan, Kansas, 
and quite a crowd of spectators was attracted by the news 
of the contest. Officers, soldiers, plainsmen, and railroad- 
men took a day off to see the sport, and one excursion 
party, including many ladies, among them Louise, came 
up from St. Louis. 

Referees were appointed to follow each man and keep 
a tally of the buffaloes slain. Comstock was mounted on 
his favorite horse, and carried a Henry rifle of large caliber. 
Brigham and Lucretia went with Will. The two hunters 
rode side by side until the first herd was sighted and the 
word given, when off they dashed to the attack, separating 
to the right and left. In this first trial Will killed thirty- 
eight and Comstock twenty-three. They had ridden 
miles, and the carcasses of the dead buffaloes were strung 
all over the prairie. Luncheon was served at noon, and 
scarcely was it over when another herd was sighted, com- 
posed mainly of cows with their calves. The damage to 
this herd was eighteen and fourteen, in favor of Cody. 

In those days the prairies were alive with buffaloes, and 
a third herd put in an appearance before the rifle-barrels 
were cooled. In order to give Brigham a share of the 
glory, Will pulled off saddle and bridle, and advanced 
bareback to the slaughter. 

That closed the contest. Score, sixty-nine to forty- 
eight. Comstock's friends surrendered, and Cody was 
dubbed "Champion Buffalo Hunter of the Plains." 

The heads of the buffaloes that fell in this hunt were 
mounted by the Kansas Pacific Company, and distributed 
about the country, as advertisements of the region the new 



road was traversing. Meanwhile, Will continued hunting: 
for the Kansas Pacific contractors, and during the year and 
a half that he supplied them with fresh meat he killed four 
thousand two hundred and eighty buffaloes. But when 
the railroad reached Sheridan it was decided to build no 
farther at that time, and Will was obliged to look for other 

The Indians had again become so troublesome that 
general war threatened all along the border, and General 
P. H. Sheridan came West to personally direct operations. 
He took up his quarters at Fort Leavenworth, but the In- 
dian depredations becoming more widespread, he trans- 
ferred his quarters to Fort Hayes, then the terminus of the 
Kansas Pacific Railroad. Will was then in the employ of 
the quartermaster's department at Fort Larned, but was 
sent with an important dispatch to General Sheridan an- 1 
nouncing that the Indians near Larned were preparing tow 
decamp. The distance between Larned and Hayes was I 
sixty-five miles, through a section infested with Indians, | 
but Will tackled it, and reached the commanding General-^ 
without mishap. | 

Shortly afterward it became necessary to send dis- 
patches from Fort Hayes to Fort Dodge. Ninety-five 5 
miles of country lay between, and every mile of it was | 
dangerous ground. Fort Dodge was surrounded by Indi- 1 
ans, and three scouts had lately been killed while trying to ] 
get dispatches through, but Will's confidence in himself or | 
his destiny was unshakable, and he volunteered to take ^ 
the dispatches, as far, at least, as the Indians would • 
let him. ^ 

"It is a dangerous undertaking," said General Sheridan, ] 
"but it is most important that the dispatches should go I 
through; so, if you are willing to risk it, take the best ] 


horse you can find, and the sooner you start the 

Within an hour the scout was in the saddle. At the 
outset Will permitted his horse to set his own pace, for in 
case of pursuit he should want the animal fresh enough to 
at least hold his own. But no pursuit materialized, and 
when the dawn came up he had covered seventy miles, 
and reached a station on Coon Creek, manned by colored 
troops. Here he delivered a letter to Major Cox, the 
officer in command, and after eating breakfast, took a fresh 
horse, and resumed his journey before the sun was above 
the plain. 

Fort Dodge was reached, the dispatches delivered by 
nine o'clock, and Will turned in for a needed sleep. When 
he awoke, he was assured by John Austin, chief of the 
scouts at Dodge, that his coming through unharmed from 
Fort Hayes was little short of a miracle. He was also 
assured that a journey to his own headquarters. Fort 
Larned, would be even more ticklish than his late ride, as 
the hostiles were especially thick in that direction. But 
the officer in command at Dodge desired to send dispatches 
to Larned, and as none of the other scouts were willing to 
take them, Will volunteered his services. 

"Larned's my headquarters," said he, ''and I must go 
there anyway; so if you'll give me a good horse, I'll take 
your dispatches." 

"We haven't a decent horse left," said the officer; 
*'but you can take your pick of some fine government 
mules. " 

Will made a gesture of despair. Another race on 
mule-back with Indians was not an inviting prospect. 
There were very few mules like unto his quondam mouse- 
colored mount. But he succumbed to the inevitable, 


picked out the most enterprising looking mule in the 
bunch, and set forth. And neither he nor the mule 
guessed what was in store for each of them. 

At Coon Creek Will dismounted for a drink of water,' 
and the mule embraced the opportunity to pull away, and ; 
start alone on the wagon-trail to Larned. Will did not 
suspect that he should have any trouble in overtaking the ji 
capricious beast, but at the end of a mile he was somewhat :| 
concerned. He had threatened and entreated, raged and 
cajoled. 'Twas all wasted. The mule was as deaf to g 
prayer as to objurgation. It browsed contentedly along S 
the even tenor of its way, so near and yet so far from the, ■ 
young man, who, like panting time, toil'd after it in I 
vain." And Larned much more than twenty miles away. 1 

What the poet calls ''the golden exhalations of the t. 
dawn" began to warm the gray of the plain. The sun was | 
in the roots of the grass. Four miles away the lights of ^ 
Larned twinkled. The only blot on a fair landscape was C 
the mule — in the middle distance. But there was a wicked ^ 
gleam in the eye of the footsore young man in the fore- ] 
ground. ] 

Boom ! The sunrise gun at the fort. The mule threw ^ 
back its head, waved its ears, and poured forth a song of .. 
triumph, a loud, exultant bray. 

Crack! Will's rifle. Down went the mule. It had i 
made the fatal mistake of gloating over its villainy. Never I 
again would it jeopardize the life of a rider. | 

It had been a thirty-five-mile walk, and every bone in 1 
Will's body ached. His shot alarmed the garrison, but he j 
was soon on the ground with the explanation; and after j 
turning over his dispatches, he sought his bed. | 

During the day General Hazen returned, under escort, j 
from Fort Harker, with dispatches for Sheridan, and Will | 



offered to be the bearer of them. An army mule was sug- 
gested, but he declined to again put his life in the keeping 
of such an animal. A good horse was selected, and the 
journey made without incident. 

General Sheridan was roused at daylight to receive the 
scout's report, and praised Will warmly for having under- 
taken and safely accomplished three such long and danger- 
ous rides. 

"In all," says General Sheridan, in his Memoirs, '*Cody 
rode three hundred and fifty miles in less than sixty hours, 
and such an exhibition of endurance and courage was more 
than enough to convince me that his services would be ex- 
tremely valuable in the campaign ; so I retained him at 
Fort Hayes until the battalion of Fifth Cavalry arrived, 
and then made him chief of scouts for that regiment." 




Within plain view of Fort Larned lay a large camp of | 
Kiowas and Comanches. They were not yet bedaubed ? 
with war paint, but they were as restless as panthers in a i 
cage, and it was only a matter of days when they would 1 
whoop and howl with the loudest. i 

The principal chief of the Kiowas was Satanta, a pow- ^ 
erful and resourceful warrior, who, because of remarkable | 
talents for speech-making, was called "The Orator of the i 
Plains." Satanta was short and bullet-headed. Hatred 
for the whites swelled every square inch of his breast, but } 
he had the deep cunning of his people, with some especially 
fine points of treachery learned from dealings with dis- 1 
honest agents and traders. There probably never was an | 
Indian so depraved that he could not be corrupted further | 
by association with a rascally white man. ^ 

When the Kiowas were friendly with the government, ^ 
Satanta received a guest with all the magnificence the tribe ^ 
afforded. A carpet was spread for the white man to sit^ 
upon, and a folding board was set up for a table. The 
question of expense never intruded. ^ 

Individually, too, Satanta put on a great deal of style. : 
Had the opportunity come to him, he would have worn a J 
silk hat with a sack-coat, or a dress suit in the afternoon. 1 
As it was, he produced some startling effects with blankets 
and feathers. ^ 

158 H 



It was part of General Hazen's mission to Fort Larned 
j patch up a treaty with the outraged Kiowas and 
; Comanches, if it could be brought about. On one warm 
August morning, the general set out for Fort Zarah, on a 
tour of inspection. Zarah was on the Arkansas, in what is 
now Barton County, Kansas. An early start was made, as 
it was desired to cover the thirty miles by noon. The 
general rode in a four-mule army ambulance, with an escort 
of ten foot soldiers, in a four-mule escort wagon. 

After dinner at Zarah the general went on to Fort 
Harker, leaving orders for the scout and soldiers to return 
to Larned on the following day. But as there was nothing 
to do at Fort Zarah, Will determined to return at once ; so 
he trimmed the sails of his mule-ship, and squared away 
for Larned. 

The first half of the journey was without incident, but 
when Pawnee Rock was reached, events began to crowd 
one another. Some forty Indians rode out from behind the 
rock and surrounded the scout. 

''How? How?" they cried, as they drew near, and 
offered their hands for the white man's salutation. 

The braves were in war paint, and intended mischief ; 
but there was nothing to be lost by returning their greet- 
ing, so Will extended his hand. 

One warrior seized it and gave it a violent jerk; another 
caught the mule's bridle; a third pulled the revolvers from 
the holsters; a fourth snatched the rifle from across the 
saddle; while a fifth, for a climax, dealt W^ill a blow on the 
head with a tomahawk that nearly stunned him. 

Then the band started for the Arkansas River, lashing 
the mule, singing, yelling, and whooping. For one sup- 
posed to be stolid and taciturn, the Indian makes a good 
deal of noise at times. 


Across the river was a vast throng of warriors, who had 
finally decided to go on the war-path. Will and his captors H 
forded the shallow stream, and the prisoner was conducted |j 
before the chiefs of the tribe, with some of whom he was \\ 
acquainted. |i 

His head throbbed from the tomahawking, but his wits j] 
were still in working order, and when asked by Satanta ij 
where he had been, he replied that he had been out search- !l 
ing for ''whoa-haws." 

He knew that the Indians had been promised a herd of 
*'whoa-haws, " as they termed cattle, and he knew, too, 
that the herd had not arrived, and that the Indians had 
been out of meat for several weeks; hence he hoped toi 
enlist Satanta's sympathetic interest. 

He succeeded. Satanta was vastly interested. Where' 
were the cattle? Oh, a few miles back. Will had been 
sent forward to notify the Indians that an army of sirloin : 
steaks was advancing upon them. 

Satanta was much pleased, and the other chiefs were \ 
likewise interested. Did General Hazen say the cattle i 
were for them? Was there a chance that the scout was | 
mistaken? J 

Not a chance ; and with becoming dignity Will demanded^ 
a reason for the rough treament he had received. j 

Oh, that was all a joke, Satanta explained. The Indi- J 
ans who had captured the white chief were young and ; 
frisky. They wished to see whether he was brave. They I 
were simply testing him. It was sport — just a joke. ^ 

Will did not offer to argue the matter. No doubt au^ 
excellent test of a man's courage is to hit him over thef 
head with a tomahawk. If he lives through it, he is braye' 
as Agamemnon. But Will insisted mildly that it was a l 

rough way to treat friends; whereupon Satanta read the ; 




riot act to his high-spirited young men, and bade them 
j return the captured weapons to the scout. 

The next question was, were there soldiers with the 
cattle? Certainly, replied Will; a large party of soldiers 
were escorting the succulent sirloins. This intelligence 
necessitated another consultation. Evidently hostilities 
must be postponed until after the cattle had arrived. 
Would Will drive the cattle to them? He would be 
delighted to. Did he desire that the chief's young men 
should accompany him? No, indeed. The soldiers, also, 
were high-spirited, and they migh test the bravery of the 
chief's young men by shooting large holes in them. It 
would be much better if the scout returned alone. 

Satanta agreed with him, and Will recrossed the river 
without molestation; but, glancing over his shoulder, he 
noted a party of ten or fifteen young braves slowly follow- 
ing him. Satanta was an extremely cautious chieftain. 

Will rode leisurely up the gentle slope of the river's 
bank, but when he had put the ridge between him and the 
Indian camp he pointed his mule westward, toward Fort 
Larned, and set it going at its best pace. When the Indi- 
ans reached the top of the ridge, from where they could 
scan the valley, in which the advancing cattle were sup- 
posed to be, there was not a horn to be seen, and the scout 
was flying in an opposite direction. 

They gave chase, but the mule had a good start, and 
when it got its second wind — always necessary in a mule — 
the Indian ponies gained but slowly. When Ash Creek, 
six miles from Larned, was reached, the race was about 
even, but two miles farther on, the Indians were uncom- 
fortably close behind. The sunset gun at the fort boomed 
a cynical welcome to the man four miles away, flying 
toward it for his life. 


At Pawnee Fork, two miles from the fort, the Indians 
had crept up to within five hundred yards. But here, on 
the farther bank of the stream. Will came upon a govern- 
ment wagon containing half a dozen soldiers and Denver 
Jim, a well-known scout. 

The team was driven among the trees, and the men hid 
themselves in the bushes, and when the Indians came along 
they were warmly received. Two of the reds were killed; 
the others wheeled and rode back in safety. 

In 1868 General Sheridan had taken command of all the 
troops in the field. He arranged what is known as the 
winter expeditions against the Kiowas, Comanches, South- 
ern Cheyennes, and Arapahoes. He personally com- 
manded the expedition which left Fort Dodge, with 
General Custer as chief of cavalry. General Penrose,' 
started for Fort Lyon, Colorado, and General Eugene A. 
Carr was ordered from the Republican River country,^ 
with the Fifth Cavalry, to Fort Wallace, Kansas. Will 
at this time had a company of forty scouts with General 
Carr's command. He was ordered by General Sheridan, 
when leaving Fort Lyon, to follow the trail of General 
Penrose's command until it was overtaken. General 
Carr was to proceed to Fort Lyon, and follow on the 
trail of General Penrose, who had started from there 
three weeks before, when, as Carr ranked Penrose, he 
would then take command of both expeditions. It was 
the 2 1st of November when Carr's expedition left Fort 
Lyon. The second day out they encountered a terrible 
snow-storm and blizzard in a place they christened "Freeze 
Out Canon," by which name it is still known. As Pen- 
rose had only a pack-train and no heavy Avagons, and the 
ground was covered with snow, it was a very difificult mat- 
ter to follow his trail. But taking his general course, they 



finally came up with him on the south fork of the Cana- 
dian River, where they found him and his soldiers in a sorry 
plight, subsisting wholly on buffalo-meat. Their animals 
had all frozen to death. 

General Carr made what is known as a supply camp, 
leaving Penrose's command and some of his own disabled 
stock therein. Taking with him the Fifth Cavalry and the 
best horses and pack-mules, he started south toward the 
main fork of the Canadian River, looking for the Indians. 
Pie was gone from the supply camp thirty days, but could 
not locate the main band of Indians, as they were farther 
to the east, where General Sheridan had located them, and 
had sent General Custer in to fight them, which he did, in 
what is known as the great battle of Wichita. 

They had a very severe winter, and returned in March 
to Fort Lyon, Colorado. 

In the spring of 1869, the Fifth Cavalry, ordered to the 
Department of the Platte, took up the line of march for 
Fort McPherson, Nebraska. 

It was a large command, including seventy-six wagons 
for stores, ambulance wagons, and pack-mules. Those 
chief in authority were Colonel Royal (afterward superseded 
by General Carr), Major Brown, and Captain Sweetman. 

The average distance covered daily was only ten miles, 
and when the troops reached the Solomon River there was 
no fresh meat in camp. Colonel Royal asked Will to look 
up some game. 

''AH right, sir," said Will. ''Will you send a couple 
of wagons along to fetch in the meat?" 

"We'll send for the game, Cody, when there's some 
game to send for," curtly replied the colonel. 

That settled the matter, surely, and Will rode away, 
St trifle ruffled in temper. 



He was not long in rounding up a herd of seven buffa- 
loes, and he headed them straight for camp. As he drew 
near the lines, he rode alongside his game, and brought 
down one after another, until only an old bull remained. 
This he killed in almost the center of the camp. 

The charge of the buffaloes had nearly stampeded the 
picketed horses, and Colonel Royal, who, with the other 
ofificers, had watched the hunt, demanded, somewhat 
angrily : 

''What does this mean, Cody?" 

''Why," said Will, "I thought, sir, I'd save you the 
trouble of sending after the game." 

The colonel smiled, though perhaps the other officers 
enjoyed the joke more than he. 

At the north fork of the Beaver, Will discovered a large 
and fresh Indian trail. The tracks were scattered all over 
the valley, showing that a large village had recently passed 
that way. Will estimated that at least four hundred 
lodges were represented ; that would mean from twenty- 
five hundred to three thousand warriors, squaws, and 

When General Carr (who had taken the command) got 
the news, he followed down a ravine to Beaver Creek, an 
here the regiment went into camp. Lieutenant Ward and 
a dozen men were detailed to accompany Will on a recon- 
noissance. They followed Beaver Creek for twelve miles, 
and then the lieutenant and the scout climbed a knoll for a 
survey of the country. One glance took in a large Indian 
village some three miles distant. Thousands of ponies were 
picketed out, and small bands of warriors were seen return- 
ing from the hunt, laden with buffalo-meat. 

"I think, Lieutenant," said Will, "that we have 
important business at camp." 



''I agree with you," said Ward. ''The quicker we get 
out of here, the better." 

When they rejoined the men at the foot of the hill, 
Ward dispatched a courier to General Carr, the purpose of 
the lieutenant being to follow slowly and meet the troops 
which he knew would be sent forward. 

The courier rode away at a gallop, but in a few 
moments came riding back, with three Indians at his horse's 
heels. The little company charged the warriors, who 
turned and fled for the village. 

"Lieutenant," said Will, ''give me that note." And 
as it was passed over, he clapped spurs to his horse and 
started for the camp. 

He had proceeded but a short distance when he came 
upon another party of Indians, returning to the village with 
bufTalo-meat. Without stopping, he fired a long-range shot 
at them, and while they hesitated, puzzled by the action, 
he galloped past. The warriors were not long in recovering 
from their surprise, and cutting loose their meat, followed ; 
but their ponies were tired from a long hunt, and Will's 
fresh horse ran away from them. 

When General Carr received the lieutenant's dispatch, he 
ordered the bugler to sound the inspiring "Boots and Sad- 
dles," and, while two companies remained to guard the 
wagons, the rest of the troops hastened against the Indians. 

Three miles out they were joined by Lieutenant Ward's 
company, and five miles more brought them within sight of 
a huge mass of mounted Indians advancing up the creek. 
These warriors were covering the retreat of their squaws, 
who were packing up and getting ready for hasty flight. 

General Carr ordered a charge on the red line. If it 
were broken, the cavalry was to continue, and surround 
the village. The movement was successfully executed, but 


one officer misunderstood the order, and, charging on the 
left wing of the hostiles, was speedily hemmed in by some \ 
three hundred redskins. Reinforcements were dispatched i 
to his relief, but the plan of battle was spoiled, and the ^ 
remainder of the afternoon was spent in contesting the 
ground with the Indians, who fought for their lodges, 
squaws, and children with desperate and dogged courage. 
When night came on, the wagon-trains, which had been 
ordered to follow, had not put in an appearance, and, 
though the regiment went back to look for them, it was 
nine o'clock before they were reached. j 

Camp was broken at daybreak, and the pursuit began, 
but not an Indian was in sight. All the day the trail was | 
followed. There was evidence that the Indians had aban- I 
doned everything that might hinder their flight. That 
night the regiment camped on the banks of the Republican,,] 
and the next morning caught a distant glimpse of the foe. 

About eleven o'clock a charge was made by three hun- 
dred mounted warriors, but they were repulsed with con- 
siderable loss, and when they discovered that defeat was 
certain, they evaded further pursuit by breaking up into! 
companies and scattering to all points of the compass. A| 
large number of ponies were collected as trophies of this 
expedition. ^ 



In due time the Fifth Cavalry reached Fort McPherson, 
which became its headquarters while they were fitting out 
a new expedition to go into the Republican River country. 
At this time General Carr recommended to General Augur, 
who was in command of the Department, that Will be 
made chief of scouts in the Department of the Platte. 

Will's fancy had been so taken by the scenery along the 
Hne of march that he proceeded to explore the country 
around McPherson, the result being a determination to 
make his future home in the Platte Valley. 

Shortly after reaching the fort, the scouts' division of 
the Fifth Cavalry was reinforced by Major Frank North 
and three companies of the celebrated Pawnee scouts. 
These became the most interesting and amusing objects in 
camp, partly on account of their race, but mainly because 
of the bizarre dress fashions they affected. My brother, in 
his autobiography, describes the appearance presented by 
these scouts during a review of the command by Brigadier- 
General Duncan. 

The regiment made a fine showing, the men being well 
drilled and thoroughly versed in tactics. The Pawnees also 
showed up well on drill, but their full-dress uniforms were 
calculated to excite even the army horses to laughter. 
Regular cavalry suits had been furnished them, but no two 
of the Pawnees seemed to agree as to the correct manner 



in which the various articles should be worn. As they lim 
up for dress parade, some of them wore heavy overcoats, 1 
others discarded even pantaloons, content with a breech- j 
clout. Some wore large black hats, with brass accouter- 1 
ments, others were bareheaded. Many wore the panta- j 
loons, but declined the shirts, while a few of the more \ 
original cut the seats from the pantaloons, leaving onlyji 
leggings. Half of them were without boots or moccasins,'^ 
but wore fhe clinking spurs with manifest pride. j 

They were a quaint and curious lot, but drilled remark- j' 
ably well for Indians, and obeyed orders. They were'! 
devoted to their white chief. Major North, who spoke J 
Pawnee like a native, and they were very proud of their ; 
position in the United States army» Good soldiers they i 
made, too — hard riders, crack shots, and desperate fighters, i 

At the close of the parade and review referred to, the ! 
officers and the ladies attended an Indian dance, given by i: 
the Pawnees, which climaxed a rather exciting day. 

The following morning an expedition moved back to i 
the Republican River, to curb the high spirits of a band of } 
Sioux, who had grown boldly troublesome. This was the | 
sort of service the Pawnees welcomed, as they and the il 
Sioux were hereditary enemies. \ 

At the journey's end, camp was made at the mouth of! 
the Beaver, and the Sioux were heard from within the \ 
hour. A party of them raided the mules that had been I 
taken to the river, and the alarm was given by a herder, ! 
who dashed into camp with an arrow sticking in his I 
shoulder. ; 

Will did not wait to saddle his horse, but the Pawnees 1 
were as quick as he, and both of them rather surprised the i 
Sioux, who did not expect such a swift response. Espe- ! 
cially were they surprised to find themselves confronted by i 



their tribal foe, the Pawnee, and they fell back hastily, 
closely pressed by Will and his red allies. A running fight 
was kept up for fifteen miles, and when many of the Sioux 
had been stretched upon the plain and the others scattered, 
: the pursuing party returned to camp. 

I Will himself, on a fine horse, had been somewhat 
' chagrined at being passed in the chase by a Pawnee on an 
J inferior-looking steed. Upon inquiring of Major North, he 
i found that the swifter horse was, like his own, government 
property. The Pawnee was much attached to his mount, 
but he was also fond of tobacco, and a few pieces of that 
commodity, supplemented by some other articles, induced 
I him to exchange horses. Will named his new charge 
I*' Buckskin Joe," and rode him for four years. Joe proved 
' a worthy successor to Brigham for speed, endurance, and 

This was the first adventure that Will and the Pawnees 
had pursued together, and they emerged with an increased 
esteem for each other. Not long afterward, Will's skill as 
a buffalo-hunter raised the admiration of the Indians to 

Twenty Pawnees that circled around one herd of buffa- 
loes killed only twenty-two, and when the next herd came 
in view Will asked Major North to keep the Indians in the 
background while he showed them a thing or two. Buck- 
skin Joe was a capital buffalo-hunter, and so well did he 
perform his part that Will brought down thirty-six, about 
one at every shot. 

The Pawnees were delighted. They held it consider- 
able of an achievement to kill two or three of the monarchs 
of the plains at a single run, and Will's feat dazzled them. 
He was at once pronounced a great chief, and ever after 
occupied a high place in their regard. 



Moving up the Republican River, the troops went into \ 
camp on Black Tail Deer Fork. Scarcely were the tents 
pitched when a band of Indians were seen sweeping toward 
them at full speed, singing, yelling, and waving lances. 
The camp was alive in an instant, but the Pawnees, instead 
of preparing for defense, began to sing and yell in unison 
with the advancing braves. "Those are some of our own 
Indians," said Major North ; "they've had a fight, and are 
bringing in the scalps." 

And so it proved. The Pawnees reported a skirmish j 
with the Sioux, in which a few of the latter had been killed. I 

The next day the regiment set forth upon the trail of | 
the Sioux. They traveled rapidly, and plainly gained 

At every camp the print of a woman's shoe was noted \ 
among the tracks of moccasined feet. The band evidently^ 
had a white captive in tow, and General Carr, selecting the 
best horses, ordered a forced march, the wagon-trains to^ 
follow as rapidly as possible. Will, with six Pawnees, wasi 
to go ahead and locate the hostiles, and send back word, so . 
that a plan of attack might be arranged before the Indian ; 
village was reached. j 

This village the scouts discovered among the sand-hills^ 
at Summit Springs, a few miles from the South Platte| 
River; and while the Pawnees remained to watch. Will 
returned to General Carr with the news. 

There was suppressed excitement all along the line, as 
officers and men prepared for what promised to be a lively 
scrimmage. The troops moved forward by a circuitous- 
route, and reached a hill overlooking the hostile camp; 
without their presence being dreamed of by the red men. 

The bugler was ordered to sound the charge, but he| 
was trembling with excitement, and unable to blow a note, i 



''Sound the charge, man!" ordered General Carr a 
second time ; but the unhappy wight could scarcely hold his 
horn, much less blow it. Quartermaster Hays snatched 
the instrument from the flustered man's hands, and as the 
call rang out loud and clear the troops rushed to the 

Taken wholly by surprise, the Indian village went to 
pieces in a twinkling. A few of the Sioux mounted and 
rode forward to repel the assault, but they turned back in 
half a minute, while those that were not mounted scattered 
for the foothills hard by. The cavalry swept through the 
village like a prairie fire, and pursued the flying Indians 
until darkness put an end to the chase. 

By the next morning the bugler had grown calm enough 
to sound "Boots and Saddles!" and General Carr split his 
force into companies, as it was discovered that the Indians 
had divided. Each company was to follow a separate 

Will made one of a band of two hundred, and for two 
days they dogged the red man's footsteps. At sunrise of 
the third day the trail ran into another, showing that the 
Sioux had reunited their forces. This was serious for the 
little company of regulars, but they went ahead, eager for 
a meeting with the savages. 

They had not long to wait. The sun was scarcely an 
hour high when some six hundred Sioux were espied riding 
in close ranks along the bank of the Platte. The Indians 
discovered the troops at the same moment, and at once 
gave battle. The Indian is not a coward, though he fre- 
quently declines combat if the odds are not largely in his 

In this engagement the Sioux outnumbered the soldiers 
three to one, and the latter fell back slowly until they 



reached a ravine. Here they tethered their horses and 
waited the course of Indian events, which, as usual, came 
in circular form. The Sioux surrounded the regulars, and 
finding them comparatively few in number, made a gallant 

But bows and arrows are futile against powder and ball, 
and the warriors reeled back from a scathing fire, leaving a 
score of their number dead. 

Another charge, another repulse ; and then a council of 
war. This lasted an hour, and evidently evolved a brilliant 
stratagem, for the Sioux divided into two bands, and while 
one made a show of withdrawing, the other circled around 
and around the position where the soldiers lay. 

At a point in this revolving belt of redskins rode a 
well-mounted, hadsome warrior, plainly a chief. It had 
been Will's experience that to lay low a chief was half the! 
battle when fighting Indians, but this particular mogul kept j 
just out of rifle-shot. There are, however, as many ways! 
of killing an Indian as of killing a cat; so Will crawled on 
hands and knees along the ravine to a point which he 
thought would be within range of the chief when next he 
swung around the circle. 

The calculation was close enough, and when the warrior 
came loping along, slacking his pace to cross the ravine, 
Will rose and fired. 

It was a good four hundred yards, but the warrior] 
pitched from his seat, and his pony ran down the ravine | 
into the ranks of the soldiers, who were so elated over thej 
success of the shot that they voted the animal to Will as a 
trophy. ! 

The fallen warrior was Tall Bull, one of the ablest! 
chiefs the Sioux ever had. His death so disheartened his J 
braves that they at once retreated. f 


A union of General Carr's scattered forces followed, and 
a few days later an engagement took place in which three 
hundred warriors and a large number of ponies were cap- 
tured. Some white captives were released, and several 
hundred squaws made prisoners. 

Among these latter was the amiable widow of Tall Bull, 
who, far from cherishing animosity against Will as the 
slayer of her spouse, took pride in the fact that he had 
fallen under the fire of so great a warrior as ^'Pahaska, " 
Long-haired Chief, by which name our scout was known 
among the Indians. 



In the spring of 1870 Will proceeded to put into effect the 
determination of the previous year — to establish a home in' 
the lovely country of the westerly Platte. After preparing 
quarters wherein his family might be comfortable, he 
obtained a leave of absence and departed for St. Louis to 
fetch his wife and daughter Arta, now a beautiful child of 
three. ' 

The fame of "Buffalo Bill" had extended far beyond 
the plains, and during his month's sojourn in St. Louis he 
was the object of a great deal of attention. When the | 
family prepared to depart for the frontier home, my sister- i 
in-law wrote to me to ask if I did not wish to accompany 
them. I should have been delighted to accept the invita- 
tion, but at that especial time there were strong attractions 
for me in my childhood's home; besides, I felt that sister 
May, who had not enjoyed the pleasure of the St, Louis ^ 
trip, was entitled to the Western jaunt. 

So May made a visit to McPherson, and a delightful 
time she had, though she was at first inclined to quarrel 
with the severe discipline of army life. Will ranked with 
the officers, and as a result May's social companions werej 
limited to the two daughters of General Augur, who werej 
also on a visit to the fort. To compensate for the shortage j 
of feminine society, however, there were a number ofj 
young unmarried officers. ^. j 

174 'f 


Every day had its curious or enlivening incident, and 
May's letters to me were filled with accounts of the gayety 
of life at an army post. After several months I was invited 
to join her. She was enthusiastic over a proposed buffalo- 
hunt, as she desired to take part in one before her return 
to Leavenworth, and wished me to enjoy the sport with 

In accepting the invitation I fixed a certain day for my 
arrival at McPherson, but I was delayed in my journey, 
and did not reach the fort until three days after the date 
set. May was much disturbed. She had allowed me three 
days for recuperation from the journey, and I had arrived 
on the eve of the buffalo-hunt. Naturally, I was too 
fatigued to rave over buffaloes, and I objected to joining 
the hunt; and I was encouraged in my objecting by the 
discovery that my brother was away on a scouting trip. 

''You don't think of going buffalo-hunting without 
Will, do you?" I asked May. 

"Why," said she, "we can never tell when he will be 
in camp and when away; he's off scouting nearly all the 
time. And we can't get up a buffalo-hunt on five minutes* 
notice; we must plan ahead. Our party is all ready to 
start, and there's a reporter here from an Omaha paper 
to write it up. We can't put it off, and you must go." 

After that, of course, there was nothing more to be 
said, and when the hunting-party set forth I made one 
of it. 

A gay party it was. For men, there were a number of 
officers, and the newspaper man. Dr. Frank Powell, now 
of La Crosse; for women, the wives of two of the officers, 
the daughters of General Augur, May, and myself. There 
was sunshine, laughter, and incessant chatter, and when 
one is young and fond of horseback-riding, and a handsome 



young officer rides by one's side, physical fatigue is apt tc i 
vanish for a time. j 

The fort was soon nothing but a break in the sky-line, tj 
and with a sense almost of awe I looked for the first time'i 
upon the great American Desert. To our left, as we rode'ji 
eastward, ran the swift and shallow Platte, dotted within 
green-garbed islands. This river Washington Irving called ;.i 
"the most magnificent and the most useless of streams. "ji 
*'The islands," he wrote, ''have the appearance of a laby-l^ 
rinth of groves floating on the waters. Their extraordinary j 
position gives an air of youth and loveliness to the whole j 
scene. If to this be added the undulations of the river, ! 
the waving of the verdure, the alternations of light and 
shade, and the purity of the atmosphere, some idea may | 
be formed of the pleasing sensations which the traveler j 
experiences on beholding a scene that seems to have started j 
fresh from the hands of the Creator." 1 

In sharp contrast was the sandy plain over which we j 
rode. On this grew the short, stubby bufTalo-grass, the j 
dust-colored sage-brush, and cactus in rank profusion. 
Over to the right, perhaps a mile away, a long range of 
foothills ran down to the horizon, with here and there the 
great canons, through' which entrance was effected to the 
upland country, each canon bearing a historical or legend^ 
ary name. 1 

To my eyes the picture was as beautiful as it was novel.J 
As far as one could see there was no sign of human habita-1 
tion. It was one vast, untenanted waste, with the toucWl 
of infinity the ocean wears. | 

As we began to get into the foothills, one of our eques- 
triennes narrowly escaped a fall. Her horse dropped a 
foot into a prairie-dog's hole, and came to an abrupt stop. 
The foot was extricated, and I was instructed in the dan* 



igers that beset the prairie voyager in these blind traps of 
ithc plain. 

i The trail had been ascending at a gentle grade, and we 
jhad a slight change of scene — desert hill instead of desert 
plain. The sand-hills rose in tiers before us, and I was 
informed that they were formed ages ago by the action of 
water. What was hard, dry ground to our horses' hoofs 
was once the bottom of the sea. 

I was much interested in the geology of my environ- 
ments; much more so than I should have been had I been 
told that those strange, weird hills were the haunt of the 
red man, who was on the war-path, and looking constantly 
for scalps. But these unpleasant facts were not touched 
, upon by the officers, and in blissful ignorance we pursued 
the tenor of our way. 

We were obliged to ride a great distance before we 
I sighted any game, and after twenty miles had been gone 
over, my temporarily forgotten weariness began to reassert 
itself. Dr. Powell proposed that the ladies should do the 
shooting, but my interest in the hunt had waned. It had 
been several years since I had ridden a horse, and after the 
first few miles I was not in a suitable frame of mind or 
body to enjoy the most exciting hunt. 

A herd of buffaloes finally came into view, and the 
party was instantly alive. One old bull was a little apart 
from the others of the herd, and was singled out for the 
first attack. As we drew within range, a rifle was given to 
May, with explicit directions as to its handling. The 
buffalo has but one vulnerable spot, and it is next to im- 
possible for a novice to make a fatal shot. May fired, and 
perhaps her shot might be called a good one, for the animal 
was struck; but it was only wounded and infuriated, and 
dropping its shaggy head, it rushed toward us. The 



officers fusilladed the mountain of flesh, succeeding only in| ! 
rousing it to added fury. Another rifle was handed toj | 
May, and Dr. Powell directed its aim; but terrified by the!"? 
near presence of the charging bull, May discharged it at | 
random. \\ 

Although this is strictly a narrative of facts, exercising 
the privilege of the novelist, we leave our present hero- J 
ine in her perilous position, and return, for a space, to i 
the fort. ! 

Will returned from his scouting trip shortly after the J 
departure of the hunting party, and his first query was: j 

''Is Nellie here?" j 

''Come and gone," replied his wife; and she informed ! 
him of the manner in which I had been carried off on the i 
long-talked-of buffalo-hunt. Whereupon Will gave way 1 
to one of his rare fits of passion. The scouting trip had | 
been long and arduous, he was tired and hungry, but also j 
keenly anxious for our safety. He knew what we were i 
ignorant of — that should we come clear of the not insignifi- 
cant dangers attendant upon a buffalo-hunt, there remained 
the possibility of capture by Indians. 

"I must go after them at once," said he; and off he \ 
went, without thought of rest or food. He did take time, . 
however, to visit the officers' quarters and pour a vial of 
wrath upon the bewildered head of the inferior who occu- 
pied the place of the absent commandant. 

"Didn't you know," cried Will, "that my continued 
absence meant danger in the air? Fine idea, to let a} 
party of ladies go beyond the fort on such a foolhardy^ 
expedition before I had assured you it was safe to do so!; 
Understand, if any harm comes to my sisters, I'll hold thel 
government responsible!" ^ 

With which tremendous threat he mounted the swiftestf 



horse in camp and rode away before the astonished officer 
had recovered from his surprise. 

He was able to track us over the sand-hills, and reached 
us, in accepted hero fashion, in the very nick of time. The 
maddened bull buffalo was charging on May, unchecked 
by a peppering fire from the guns of the officers. All 
hands were so absorbed by the intense excitement of the 
moment that the sound of approaching hoof-beats was 
unnoted. But I heard, from behind us, the crack of a rifle, 
and saw the buffalo fall dead almost at our feet. 

The ill-humor of our rescuer dampened the ardor of the 
welcome we gave him. The long ride on an empty 
stomach had not smoothed a ripple of his ruffled temper, 
and we were all properly lectured. We were ordered back 
to the fort at once, and the command was of such a nature 
that no one thought of disputing it. The only question 
was, whether we could make the fort before being cut off 
by Indians. There was no time to be wasted, even in cut- 
ting meat from the tongue of the fallen buffalo. Will 
showed us the shortest cut for home, and himself zigzagged 
ahead of us, on the watch for a danger signal. 

For my part, I was so worn out that I would as soon be 
captured by Indians, if they would agree to provide me 
with a wigwam wherein I might lie down and rest ; but no 
Indians appeared. Five miles from the fort v/as the ranch 
of a wealthy bachelor, and at May's request a halt was 
here called. It was thought that the owner of the ranch 
might take pity upon my deplorable condition, and provide 
some sort of vehicle to convey the ladies the remainder of 
the journey. 

We were heartily welcomed, and our bachelor host 
made us extremely comfortable in his cozy apartments, 
while he ordered supper for the party. Will considered 


that we were within the safety zone, so he continued on to 
the fort to obtain his postponed rest ; and after supper the 
ladies rode to the fort in a carriage. 

The next day's Omaha paper contained an account of 
the hunt from Dr. Powell's graphic pen, and in it May 
Cody received all the glory of the shot that laid the buffalo 
low. Newspaper men are usually ready to sacrifice exacfci 
facts to an innate sense of the picturesque. 1 

At this time the fort was somewhat concerned ov^ 
numerous petty crimes among the civilians, and General 
Emory, now chief in authority at the post, requested the 
county commissioners to appoint Will a justice of the 
peace. This was done, much to the dismay of the UQVi 
justice, who, as he phrased it, **knew no more of law thai 
a mule knows of singing." But he was compelled to bea; 
the blushing honors thrust upon him, and his sign wa« 
posted in a conspicuous place: , 

Justice of the Peace. 

Almost the first thing he was called upon to do in hisj 
new capacity was to perform a wedding ceremony. Cold^ 
sweat stood upon his brow as he implored our aid in thisj 
desperate emergency. The big law book with which he^ 
had been equipped at his installation was ransacked in vain| 
for the needed information. The Bible was examined morcij 
diligently, perhaps, than it had ever been by him before,' 
but the Good Book was as unresponsive as the legal tome.^ 
"Remember your own wedding ceremony, " was our advice.; 
* ' Follow that as nearly as possible. ' ' But he shook his headj 




despondently. The cool-headed scout and Indian fighter 
was dismayed, and the dignity of the law trembled in the 

To put an edge on the crisis, nearly the entire fort 
attended the wedding. All is well, said we, as we watched 
the justice take his place before the bridal pair with not a 
sign of trepidation. At the outset his conducting of the 
ceremony was irreproachable, and we were secretly con- 
gratulating ourselves upon his success, when our ears were 
startled by the announcement: 

''Whom God and Buffalo Bill hath joined together, let 
no man put asunder." 

So far as I am informed, no man has attempted it. 

Before May returned home, Will became the very proud 
father of a son. He had now three children, a second 
daughter, Orra, having been born two years before. The 
first boy of the family was the object of the undivided 
interest of the post for a time, and names by the dozen 
were suggested. Major North offered Kit Carson as an 
appropriate name for the son of a great scout and buffalo- 
hunter, and this was finally settled on. 

My first touch of real anxiety came with an order to 
Will to report at headquarters for assignment to duty. 
The country was alive with Indians, the officer in command 
informed him, and this intelligence filled me with dread. 
My sister-in-law had grown accustomed to her husband's 
excursions into danger-land, and accepted such sallies as 
incidents of his position. Later, I, too, learned this 
stoical philosophy, but at first my anxiety was so keen that 
Will laughed at me. 

"Don't worry," said he; "the Indians won't visit the 
fort to-night. There's no danger of them scalping you." 

"But," said I, "it is for you, not for myself, that I am 





afraid. It is horrible to think of you going out alone "j 
among those foothills, which swarm with Indians." I 

The fort was on the prairie, but the distant foothills i: 
stretched away interminably, and these furnished favorite i 
lurking-places for the redskins. Will drew me to a win- p 
dow, and pointed out the third tier of hills, some twelve or | 
fifteen miles away. \ 

"1 would advise you," said he, ''to go to bed and i 
sleep, but if you insist on keeping awake and worrying, I ; 
will kindle a blaze on top of that hill at midnight. Watch \ 
closely. I can send up only one flash, for there will be I 
Indian eyes unclosed as well as yours." 

One may imagine with what a beating heart I starec 
into the darkness when the hour of twelve drew on. The 
night was a veil that hid a thousand terrors, but a gauzy 
veil, to my excited fancy, behind which passed a host oi 
shadowy horsemen with uptossing lances. How could a 
man ride alone into such a gloomy, terror-haunted domain?! 
The knights of old, who sallied forth in search of dismal 
ogres and noxious dragons, were not of stouter heart, and 
they breasted only fancied perils. 

Twelve o'clock! The night had a thousand eyes, but 
they did not pierce the darkness of the foothills. | 

Ah ! A thin ribbon of light curled upward for an instant, | 
then vanished. Will was safe thus far. But there were < 
many hours — and the darkest — before the dawn, and I car-> 
ried to my bed the larger share of my forebodings. ^ 

Next day the scout came home to report the exact loca-| 
tion of the hostile Sioux. The troops, ready for instant-* 
action, were hurled against them, and the Indians werej 
thoroughly thrashed. A large number of chiefs were cap-| 
tured, among them ''Red Shirt," an interesting redskin, | 
who afterward traveled with the "Wild West." ^ 


Captive chiefs were always esteemed of great interest by 
the ladies of the fort. To me the braves taken in the last 
raid were remarkable mainly for economy of apparel and 
sulklness of demeanor. 

This same fall the fort was visited by a gentleman 
introduced as Colonel Judson, though the public knows 
him better as "Ned Buntline," the story-writer. He 
desired to accompany the scouts on a certain proposed 
trip, and Major Brown informed Will that the ulterior 
motive of the author was to project Buffalo Bill into a 
novel as hero. 

"Now, I'd look pretty in a novel, wouldn't I?" said 
Will, sarcastically and blushingly. 

"Yes, I think you would," returned the major, eying 
the other's splendid proportions critically. 

Whereupon the scout blushed again, und doffed his 
sombrero in acknowledgment of the compliment, for— 

"'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print ; 
A book's a book, although there's nothing ih't." 

A retired naval officer, Ned Buntline Wore a black undress 
military suit. His face Was bronzed and rugged, deter- 
mined yet kindly; he walked With a slight limp, and car^ 
ried a cane. He shook Will's hand cordially when they 
were introduced, and expressed great pleasure in the meet- 
ing. This was the genesis of a friendship destined to work 
great changes in Buffalo Bill's career. 

During the scouting expedition that followed, the party 
chanced upon an enormous bone, which the surgeon pro- 
nounced the femur of a human body. Will understood the 
Indian tongues well enough to be in part possession of 
their traditions, and he related the Sioux legend of the flood. 

It was taught by the wise men of this tribe that the 


earth was originally peopled by giants, who were fully- 
three times the size of modern men. They were so swift 
and powerful that they could run alongside a buffalo, take 
the animal under one arm, and tear off a leg, and eat it as 
they ran. So vainglorious were they because of their own 
size and strength that they denied the existence of a Cre- 
ator. When it lightened, they proclaimed their superiority 
to the lightning; when it thundered, they laughed. 

This displeased the Great Spirit, and to rebuke their 
arrogance he sent a great rain upon the earth. The val- 
leys filled with water, and the giants retreated t'o the hillsJ 
The water crept up the hills, and the giants sought safety on j 
the highest mountains. Still the rain continued, the waters | 
rose, and the giants, having no other refuge, were drowned. | 

The Great Spirit profited by his former mistake. When I 
the waters subsided, he made a new race of men, but he | 
made them smaller and less strong. f 

This tradition has been handed down from Sioux father J 

to Sioux son since earliest ages. It shows, at least, as the t 


legends of all races do, that the story of the Deluge is his- ^ 
tory common to all the world. \ 
Another interesting Indian tradition bears evidence of ; 
a later origin. The Great Spirit, they say, once formed a i 
man of clay,, and he was placed in the furnace to bake, but | 
he was subjected to the heat too long a time, and came | 
out burnt. Of him came the negro race. At another trial ^ 
the Great Spirit feared the second clay man might also "t 
burn, and he was not left in the furnace long enough. Of | 
him came the paleface man. The Great Spirit was now ^ 
in a position to do perfect work, and the third clay man '] 
was left in the furnace neither too long nor too short a | 
time ; he emerged a masterpiece, the ne plus ultra of crea- ^ 
tion — the noble red man. \ 




Although the glory of killing the buffalo on our hunt was 
accredited to sister May, to me the episode proved of much 
more moment. In the spring of 187 1 I was married to Mr. 
Jester, the bachelor ranchman at whose place we had tar- 
ried on our hurried return to the fort. His house had a 
rough exterior, but was substantial and commodious, and 
before I entered it, a bride, it was refitted in a style almost 
luxurious. I returned to Leavenworth to prepare for the 
wedding, which took place at the home of an old friend, 
Thomas Plowman, his daughter Emma having been my 
chum in girlhood. 

In our home near McPherson we were five miles *'in 
the country." Nature in primitive wildness encompassed 
us, but life's song never ran into a monotone. The prairie 
is never dull when one watches it from day to day for signs 
of Indians. Yet we were not especially concerned, as we 
were near enough to the fort to reach it on short notice, 
and besides our home there was another house where the 
ranchmen lived. With these I had little to do. My espe- 
cial factotum was a negro boy, whose chief duty was to 
saddle my horse and bring it to the door, attend me upon 
my rides, and minister to my comfort generally. Poor 
little chap! He was one of the first of the Indians' 

Early one morning John, as he was called, was sent out 



alone to look after the cattle. During breakfast the clatter 
of hoofs was heard, and Will rode up to inform us that the li 
Indians were on the war-path and massed in force just !i 
beyond our ranch. Back of Will were the troops, and j 
we were advised to ride at once to the fort. Hastily pack- ( 
ing a few valuables, we took refuge at McPherson, and | 
remained there until the troops returned with the news that I 
all danger was over. 

Upon our return to the ranch we found that the cattled 
had been driven away, and poor little John was picked up, 
dead on the skirts of the foothills. The redskins had 
apparently started to scalp him, but had desisted. Per^ 
haps they thought his wool would not make a desirable 
trophy, perhaps they were frightened away. At all events, 
the poor child's scalp was left to him, though the mark o( 
the knife was plain. 

Shortly after this episode, some capitalists from tht 
East visited my husband. One of them, Mr. Bent, owne(S 
a large share in the cattle-ranches. He desired to visitS 
this ranch, and the whole party planned a hunt at the same v 
time. As there were no banking facilities on the frontier,'^ 
drafts or bills of exchange would have been of no use; so "J 
the money designed for Western investment had beenj 
brought along in cash. To carry this on the proposed trip,^ 
was too great a risk, and I was asked banteringly to act as 
banker. I consented readily, but imagine my perturbation ■ 
when twenty-five thousand dollars in bank-notes werej 
counted out and left in my care. I had never had the - 
responsibility of so large a sum of money before, and com-^ 
pared to me the man with the elephant on his hands had a I 
tranquil time of it. After considering various methods for:^ 
secreting the money, I decided for the hair mattress on^ 
my bed. This I ripped open, inserted the envelope con-_^ 



taining the bank-notes, and sewed up the slit. No one was 
aware of my trust, and I regarded it safe. 

A few mornings later I ordered my pony and rode 
away to visit my nearest neighbor, a Mrs. Erickson, pur- 
posing later to ride to the fort and spend the day with 
Lou, my sister-in-law. When I reached Mrs. Erickson's 
house, that good woman came out in great excitement to 
greet me. 

"You must come right in, Mrs. Jester!" said she^ 
"The foothills are filled with Indians on the war* 

She handed me her field-glasses, and directed my gaze 
to the trail below our ranch, over which buffaloes, cattle, 
and Indians passed down to the Platte. I could plainly 
see the warriors tramping along Indian-file, their head- 
feathers waving in the breeze and their blankets flapping 
about them as they walked. Instantly the thought of the 
twenty-five thousand dollars intrusted to my care flashed 
across my mind. 

"Oh, Mrs. Erickson," I exclaimed, "I must return to 
the ranch immediately!" 

"You must not do so, Mrs. Jester; it's as much as 
your life is worth to attempt it," said she. 

But I thought only of the money, and notwithstanding 
warning and entreaty, mounted my horse and flew back 
on the homeward path, not even daring to look once toward 
the foothills. When I reached the house, I called to the 

"The Indians are on the war*path, and the foothills are 
full of them ! Have two or three men ready to escort me 
to the fort by the time I have my valise packed." 

"Why, Mrs. Jester," was the reply, "there are no 
Indians in sight." 


"But there are," said I. "I saw them as plainly as I \ 
see you, and the Ericksons saw them, too/' 

"You have been the victim of a mirage," said the ovei- 
seer. "Look! there are no Indians now in view." 

I scanned the foothills closely, but there was no sign o: 
a warrior. With my field-glasses I searched the entin 
rim of the horizon; it was tranquillity itself. I experi 
enced a great relief, nevertheless, ^ly nen-^es were s 
shaken that I could not remain at home ; so I packed 
valise, taking along the package of bank-notes, and visite 
another neighbor, a ]\Irs. McDonald, a dear friend of man 
years' standing, who lived nearer the fort. 

This excellent woman was an old resident of the fron- 
tier. After she had heard my stor\', she related some of^ 
her own Indian experiences. When she first settled in he 
present home, there was no fort to which she could flee 
from Indian molestation, and she was often compelled t 
rely upon her wits to extricate her from dangerous situa 
tions. The story that especially impressed me was the fol^ 
lowing : | 

"One evening when I was alone." said !Mrs. McDonald, | 
"I became conscious that eyes were peering at me from 4 
the darkness outside my window. Flight was impossible,! 
and my husband would not likely reach home for an hour> 
or more. What should I do? A happy thought came to T 
me. You know, perhaps, that Indians, for some reason, j 
have a strange fear of a drunken woman, and will not_' 
molest one. I took from a closet a bottle filled with aj 
dark-colored liquid, poured out a glassful and drank it. In] 
a few minutes I repeated the dose, and then seemingly it j 
beean to take effect. I would trv to walk across the room, 
staggering and nearly falling. I became uproariously i 
'happy.' I flung my arms above my head, lurched from; 



side to side, sang a maudlin song, and laughed loudly and 
foolishly. The stratagem succeeded. One by one the 
shadowy faces at the window disappeared, and by the time 
my husband and the men returned there was not an In- 
dian in the neighborhood. I became sober immediately. 
Molasses and water is not a very intoxicating beverage." 

I plucked up courage to return to the ranch that even- 
ing, and shortly afterward the hunting-party rode up. 
When I related the story of my fright, Mr. Bent com- 
plimented me upon what he was pleased to call my 

''You are your brother's own sister," said he. "We'll 
make you banker again." 

"Thank you, but I do not believe you will," said I. 
"I have had all the experience I wish for in the banking 
business in this Indian country." 

Upon another occasion Indians were approaching the 
fort from the farther side, but as we were not regarded as 
in danger, no warning was sent to us. The troops sallied 
out after the redskins, and the cunning warriors described 
a circle. To hide their trail they set fire to the prairie, 
and the hills about us were soon ablaze. The flames spread 
swiftly, and the smoke rolled upon us in suffocating volume. 
We retreated to the river, and managed to exist by dash- 
ing water upon our faces. Here we were found by soldiers 
sent from the fort to warn settlers of their peril, and at 
their suggestion we returned to the ranch, saddled horses, 
and rode through the dense smoke five miles to the fort. 
It was the most unpleasant ride of my life. 

In the preceding chapter mention was made of the find- 
ing of a remarkable bone. It became famous, and in the 
summer of 1871 Professor Marsh, of Yale College, brought 
out a party of students to search for fossils. They found 



a number, but were not rewarded by anything the mest 
credulous could torture into a hurnan relic. ; 

This summer also witnessed an Indian campaign some^' 
what out of the common in several of its details. More 
than one volume would be required to record all th^i 
adventures Scout Cody had with the Children of the Plains, 
most of which had so many points in common that it is 
necessary to touch upon only those containing incident 
out of the ordinary. 

An expedition, under command of General Duncan, 
was fitted out for the Republican River country. Duncan 
was a jolly officer and a born fighter. His brother officers 
had a story that once on a time he had been shot in the 
head by a cannon-ball, and that while he was not hurt a 
particle, the ball glanced off and killed one of the toughest 
mules in the army. 

Perhaps it was because the Pawnees spoke so little | 
English, and spoke that little so badly, that General Dun- 1 
can insisted upon their repeating the English call, whichi 
would be something like this: "Post Number One. Nine | 
o'clock. All's well." The Pawnee effort to obey was so | 
ludicrous, and provocative of such profanity (which they J 
could express passing well),- that the order was countep-l 
manded. | 

One afternoon Major North and Will rode ahead of the^ 
command to select a site for the night's camp. They ran 
into a band of some fifty Indians, and were obliged to take 
the back track as fast as their horses could travel. Will's J 
whip was shot from his hand and a hole put through his ^ 
hat. As they sighted the advance-guard of the command, ■ 
Major North rode around in a circle— a signal to the Paw^'^ 
nees that hostiles were near. Instantly the Pawnees broke ^ 
ranks and dashed pell-mell to the relief of their white chief. ' 


The hostilei now took a turn at retreating, and kept It up 
for several miles. 

The troops took up the trail on the following day, and 
a stern chase set in. In passing through a deserted gamp 
the troops found an aged squaw, who had been left to die. 
The soldiers built a lodge for her, and she wa.^ provided 
with sufficient rations to last her until she reached the 
Indian heaven, the happy hunting-grounds, She was in 
no hagte, however, to get to her destination, and on their 
return the troops took her to the fort with them, Later 
she was sent to the Spotted Tail agency. 

In September of 1871 General Sheridan and a party of 
friends arrived at the poit for a grand hunt. Between him 
and Will existed a warm friendship, which continued to the 
close of the general's life. Great preparations were made 
for the hunt, General Emory, now commander of the fort, 
sent a troop of cavalry to meet the distinguished visitor? at 
the station and escort them to the fort, Besides General 
Sheridan, there were in the party Leonard and Lawrence 
Jerome, Carroll Livingstone, Jame^ Ggrdon Bennett, J, G- 
Heckacher, General Fit?hugh, Schuyler Crggby, Dr. Asch, 
Mr. McCarthy, and other well-known men. When they 
reached the post they found the regiment drawn up on 
dress parade ; the band gtruek up a martial air, the cavalry 
were reviewed by General Sheridan, and the formalities of 
the occasion were regarded as over. 

It was Sheridan's request that Will should act as guide 
and scout for the hunting-party. One hundred troopers 
under Major" Brown were detailed as escort, and the com- 
missary department fairly bulged. Several ambulances 
were also taken along, for the comfort of those who might 
weary of the saddle, 

Game was abundant, and rare sport was had, Buffalo, 



elk, and deer were everywhere, and to those of the party 
who were new to Western Hfe the prairie-dog villages were 
objects of much interest. These villages are often of great 
extent. They are made up of countless burrows, and so 
honeycombed is the country infested by the little animals 
that travel after nightfall is perilous for horses. The dirt 
is heaped around the entrance to the burrows a foot high, 
and here the prairie-dogs, who are sociability itself, sit on 
their hind legs and gossip with one another. Owls and 
rattlesnakes share the underground homes with the rightful' 
owners, and all get along together famously. 

When the hunting-party returned to McPherson its 
members voted Will a veritable Nimrod — a mighty hunter, } 
and he was abundantly thanked for his masterly guidance of! 
the expedition. •« 

That winter a still more distinguished party visited theJ 
post — the Grand Duke Alexis and his friends. As many;-^ 
of my readers will recall, the nobleman's visit aroused 
much enthusiasm in this country. The East had wined an 
dined him to satiety, but wining and dining are common t 
all nations, and the Grand Duke desired to see the wild lifel 
of America — the Indian in his tepee and the prairie mon- J 
arch in his domain, as well as the hardy frontiersman, who,^ 
feared neither savage warrior nor savage beast. S 

The Grand Duke had hunted big game in Easternj 
lands, and he was a capital shot. General Sheridan ^ 
engineered this expedition also, and, as on the previous ] 
occasion, he relied upon Will to make it a success. The | 
latter received word to select a good camp on Red Willow 
Creek, where game was plentiful, and to make all needed 
arrangements for the comfort and entertainment of the 
noble party. A special feature suggested by Sheridan forj 
the amusement and instruction of the continental guests'^ 



was an Indian war-dance and Indian buffalo-hunt. To 
procure this entertainment it was necessary to visit Spotted 
Tail, chief of the Sioux, and persuade him to bring over a 
hundred warriors. At this time there was peace between 
the Sioux and the government, and the dance idea was 
feasible; nevertheless, a visit to the Sioux camp was not 
without its dangers. Spotted Tail himself was seemingly 
sincere in a desire to observe the terms of the ostensible 
peace between his people and the authorities, but many of 
the other Indians would rather have had the scalp of the 
Long-haired Chief than a century of peace. 

Will so timed his trip as to reach the Indian camp at 
dusk, and hitching his horse in the timber, he wrapped his 
blanket closely about him, so that in the gathering dark- 
ness he might easily pass for a warrior. Thus invested, he 
entered the village, and proceeded to the lodge of Spotted 

The conference with the distinguished redskin was made 
smooth sailing by Agent Todd Randall, who happened to 
be on hand, and who acted as interpreter. The old chief 
felt honored by the invitation extended to him, and readily 
promised that in ''ten sleeps" from that night he, with a 
hundred warriors, would be present at the white man's 
camp, which was to be pitched at the point where the gov- 
ernment trail crossed Red Willow Creek. 

As Spotted Tail did not repose a great amount of con- 
fidence in his high-spirited young men, he kept Will in his 
own lodge through the night. In the morning the chief 
assembled the camp, and presenting his guest, asked if his 
warriors knew him. 

''It is Pa-has-ka, the Long-haired Chief!" they 

Whereupon Spotted Tail informed them that he had 


eaten bread with tlie Long-haired Chief, thus establishing 
a bond of friendship, against violating which the warriori 
were properly warned. 

After that Will was entirely at his ease, although there 
were many sullen faces about him. They had long yearned 
for his scalp, and it was slightly irritating to find it so near, 
and yet so far. 



A SPECIAL train brought the Grand Duke Alexis and party 
to North Platte on January 12, 1872. Will was presented 
to the illustrious visitor by General Sheridan, and was 
much interested in him. He wag also pleased to note that 
General Custer made one of the party, 

Will had made all the arrangements, and had every- 
thing complete when the train pulled in. As soon as the 
Grand Duke and party had breakfasted, they filed out to 
get their horses or to find seats in the ambulances, All 
who were mounted were arranged according to rank. Will 
had sent one of his guides ahead, while he was to remain 
behind to see that nothing was left undone, Just as they 
were to start, the conductor of the Grand Duke's train 
came up to Will and said that Mr. Thompson had not 
received a horse. ''What Thompson?" asked Will. 
"Why, Mr. Frank Thompson, who has charge of the 
Grand Duke's train." Will looked over the list of names 
sent him by General Sheridan of those who would require 
saddle-horses, but failed to find that of Mr. Thompson. 
However, he did not wish to have Mr. Thompson or any 
one else left out. He had following him, as he always did, 
his celebrated war-horse, "Buckskin Joe," This horse was 
not a very prepossessing 'Mnscct," He was buckskin in 
color, and rather a sorry-looking animal, but he was known 
all over the frontier as the greatest long-distance and best 



buffalo-horse living. Will had never allowed any one but 
himself to ride this horse, but as he had no other there at 
the time, he got a saddle and bridle, had it put on old 
Buckskin Joe, and told Mr.iThompson he could ride him 
until he got where he could get him another. This horse 
looked so different from the beautiful animals the rest of 
the party were supplied with that Mr. Thompson thought 
it rather discourteous to mount him in such fashion. 
However, he got on, and Will told him to follow up, as he 
wanted to go ahead to where the general was. As Mr. 
Thompson rode past the wagons and ambulances he 
noticed the teamsters pointing at him, and thinking the 
men Avere guying him, rode up to one of them, and said,: 
*'Am I not riding this horse all right?" Mr. Thompson! 
felt some personal pride in his horsemanship, as he was 
Pennsylvania fox-hunter. 

The driver replied, ''Yes, sir; you ride all right." 

''Well, then," said Thompson, "it must be this horse? 
you are guying." 

The teamster replied: 

"Guying that horse? Not in a thousand years!* 
"Well, then, why am I such a conspicuous object?" 
"Why, sir, are you not the king?" 
"The king? Why did you take me for the king?' 
"Because you are riding that horse. I guess you don't\ 

T- '(3 

know what horse you are riding, do you? Nobody gets to 
ride that horse but Buffalo Bill. So when we all saw you I 
riding him we supposed that of course you were the king, ' 
for that horse, sir, is Buckskin Joe." 

Thompson had heard General Sheridan telling about - 
Buckskin Joe on the w^ay out, and how Buffalo Bill had '.j 
once run him eighty miles when the Indians were after! 
him. Thompson told Will afterward that he grew about 



four feet when he found out that he was riding that most 
celebrated horse of the plains. He at once galloped ahead 
to overtake Will and thank him most heartily for allowing 
him the honor of such a mount. Will told him that he 
jwas going to let the Grand Duke kill his first buffalo on 
Buckskin Joe. "Well," replied Thompson, ''I want to 
ask one favor of you. Let me also kill a buffalo on this 
horse." Will replied that nothing would afford him greater 
pleasure. Buckskin Joe was covered with glory on this 
memorable hunt, as both the Grand Duke of Russia and 
Mr. Frank Thompson, later president of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad, killed their first buffalo mounted on his back, 
and my brother ascribes to old Joe the acquisition of Mr. 
Frank Thompson's name to his list of life friendships. 
This hunt was an unqualified success, nothing occurring to 
imar one day of it. 

Spotted Tail was true to his promise. He and his hun- 
dred braves were on hand, shining in the full glory of war 
paint and feathers, and the war-dance they perfomed was 
of extraordinary interest to the Grand Duke and his friends. 
The outlandish contortions and grimaces of the Indians, 
their leaps and crouchings, their fiendish yells and whoops, 
made up a barbaric jangle of picture and sound not soon 
to be forgotten. To the European visitors the scene was 
picturesque rather than ghastly, but it was not a pleasing 
spectacle to the old Indian fighters looking on. There 
were too many suggestions of bloodshed and massacre in 
the past, and of bloodshed and massacre yet to come. 

The Indian buffalo-hunt followed the Terpsichorean 
revelry, and all could enjoy the skill and strength displayed 
by the red huntsmen. One warrior, Two-Lance by name, 
performed a feat that no other living Indian could do ; he 



sent an arrow entirely through the body of a bull running; 
at full speed. 

General Sheridan desired that the Grand Duke should: 
carry away with him a knowledge of every phase of life otli 
the frontier, and when the visitors were ready to drive to- 
the railroad station, Will was requested to illustrate, fof^ 
their edification, the manner in which a stagecoach atij 
six were driven over the Rocky Mountains. 

Will was delighted at the idea; so was Alexis at thi 
outset, as he had little idea of what was in store for hinii 
The Grand Duke and the general were seated in a closei 
carriage drawn by horses, and were cautioned to fast( 
their hats securely on their heads, and to hang onto tht 
carriage; then Will climbed to the driver's seat. 

"Just imagine,'* said he to his passengers, "that fift] 
Indians are after us." And off went the horses, with 
jump that nearly spilled the occupants of the coach int( 
the road. i 

The three miles to the station were covered in just tdd 
minutes, and the Grand Duke had the ride of his life' 
The carriage tossed like a ship in a gale, and no crew evei^; 
clung to a life-line with more desperate grip than did Wiiri| 
passengers to their seats. Had the fifty Indians of the^ 
driver's fancy been whooping behind, he would not havi^ 
plied the whip more industriously, or been deafer to th^ 
groans and ejaculations of his fares. When the carriag^ 
finally drew up with another teeth-shaking jerk, and Will| 
sombrero in hand, opened the coach door to inquire 0^ 
his Highness how he had enjoyed the ride, the Grand Duke^ 
replied, With suspicious enthusiasm J {| 

"1 Would not have missed it for a large sum of money }^ 
but rather than repeat it, I Would return to Russia viaj 


Alaska, swim Bering Strait, and finish my journey on one 
of your government mules." 

This ride completed a trip which the noble party pro- 
nounced satisfactory in every detail. The Grand Duke 
invited Will into his private car, where he received the 
thanks of the company for his zeal and skill as pilot of a 
hunting-party. He was also invited by Alexis to visit 
him at his palace should he ever make a journey to Russia, 
and was, moreover, the recipient of a number of valuable 

At that time Will had very little thought of crossing 
the seas, but he did decide to visit the East, whither he 
had more than once journeyed in fancy. The Indians 
were comparatively quiet, and he readily obtained a leave 
of absence. 

The first stopping-place was Chicago, where he was 
entertained by General Sheridan; thence he went to New 
York, to be kindly received by James Gordon Bennett, 
Leonard and Lawrence Jerome, J. G. Heckscher, and 
others, who, it will be recalled, were members of the hunt- 
ing-party of the preceding year. Ned Buntline also rendered 
his sojourn in the metropolis pleasant in many ways. The 
author had carried out his intention of writing a story of 
Western life with Scout Cody for the hero, and the result, 
having been dramatized, was doing a flourishing business 
at one of the great city's theaters. W^ill made one of a 
party that attended a performance of the play one evening, 
and it was shortly whispered about the house that ''Buffalo 
Bill" himself was in the audience. It is customary to call 
for the author of a play, and no doubt the author of this 
play had been summoned before the footlights in due 
course, but on this night the audience demanded the 
hero. To respond to the call was an ordeal for which 



Will was unprepared; but there was no getting out of it 
and he faced a storm of applause. The manager of th< 
performance, enterprising like all of his profession, offeree 
Will five hundred dollars a week to remain in New Yorl 
and play the part of ''Buffalo Bill," but the offer wai 
declined with thanks. 

During his stay in the city Will was made the guest o 
honor at sundry luncheons and dinners given by hi; 
wealthy entertainers. He found considerable trouble ii! 
keeping his appointments at first, but soon caught on to th(| 
to him unreasonable hours at which New Yorkers dined | 
supped, and breakfasted. The sense of his social obliga 
tions lay so heavily on his mind that he resolved to balana 
accounts with a dinner at which he should be the host 
An inventory of cash on hand discovered the sum of fiftj 
dollars that might be devoted to playing Lucullus. Surel} 
that would more than pay for all that ten or a dozen meil 
could eat at one meal. "However," he said to himself. 
''I don't care if it takes the whole fifty. It's all in 
lifetime, anyway." 

In all confidence he hied him to Delmonico's, at whi 
famous restaurant he had incurred a large share of 
social obligations. He ordered the finest dinner that cou 
be prepared for a party of twelve, and set as date the nig] 
preceding his departure for the West. The guests we; 
invited with genuine Western hospitality. His friends h 
been kind to him, and he desired to show them that a m; 
of the West could not only appreciate such things, b 
return them. 

The dinner was a thorough success. Not an invite 
guest was absent. The conversation sparkled. Quip an 
repartee shot across the "festive board," and all wer 
merry as a dinner-bell. The host was satisfied, and pro 



ivithal. The next morning he approached Delmonico's 
.iishier with an air of reckless prodigality. 

''My bill, please," said he, and when he got it, he 
ooked hard at it for several minutes. It dawned on him 
gradually that his fifty dollars would about pay for one 
)late. As he confided to us afterward, that little slip of 
paper frightened him more than could the prospect of a 
combat single-handed with a whole tribe of Sioux Indians. 

Unsophisticated Will! There was, as he discovered, a 
u'onderful difference between a dinner at Delmonico's and 
1 dinner on the plains. For the one, the four corners of 
the earth are drawn upon to provide the bill of fare ; for 
the other, all one needs is an ounce of lead and a charge of 
powder, a bundle of fagots and a match. 

But it would never do to permit the restaurant cashier 
to suspect that the royal entertainer of the night before was 
jEstonished at his bill; so he requested that the account be 
forwarded to his hotel, and sought the open air, where he 
might breathe more freely. 

There was but one man in New York to whom he felt 
he could turn in his dilemma, and that was Ned Buntline. 
One who could invent plots for stories, and extricate his 
characters from all sorts of embarrassing situations, should 
be able to invent a method of escape from so compara- 
tively simple a perplexity as a tavern bill. Will's confi- 
,dence in the wits of his friend was not unfounded. His first 
great financial panic was safely weathered, but how it was 
done I do not know^ to this day. 

One of Will's main reasons for visiting the East was to 
look up our only living relatives on mother's side — Colonel 
Henry R. Guss and family, of Westchester, Pennsylvania. 
Mother's sister, who had married this gentleman, was not 
living, and we had never met him or any of his family. 



Ned Buntline accompanied Will on his trip to Wcst^l' 
Chester. ; 

To those who have passed through the experience off 
waiting in a strange drawing-room for the coming of \] 
relatives one has never seen, and of whose personality onei! 
has but the vaguest idea, there is the uncertainty of thee 
reception. Will it be frank and hearty, or reserved and J 
doubtful? During the few minutes succeeding the giving? 
of his and Buntline's cards to the servant, Will rather ; 
wished that the elegant reception-room might be meta- : 
morphosed into the Western prairie. But presently the ' 
entrance to the parlor was brightened by the loveliest girl 
he had ever looked upon, and following her walked a'; 
courtly, elegant gentleman. These were Cousin Lizzie] 
and Uncle Henry. There was no doubt of the quality ^ 
of the welcome; it was most cordial, and Will enjoyed | 
a delightful visit wath his relatives. For his cousin he con- 1 
ceived an instant affection. The love he had held forj 
his mother — the purest and strongest of his affections — i 
became the heritage of this beautiful girl. 



jFhe Fifth Cavalry at Fort McPherson had been ordered 
|:o Arizona, and was replaced by the Third Cavalry under 
:ommand of General Reynolds. Upon Will's return to 
VIcPherson he was at once obliged to take the field to 
ook for Indians that had raided the station during his 
ibsence and carried off a considerable number of horses. 
Captain Meinhold and Lieutenant Lawson commanded the 
:ompany dispatched to recover the stolen property. Will 
icted as guide, and had as an assistant T. ^B. Omohundro, 
setter known by his frontier name of ''Texas Jack." 

Will was not long in finding Indian tracks, and accom- 
panied by six men, he went forward to locate the redskin 
:amp. They had proceeded but a short distance when 
:hey sighted a small party of Indians, with horses grazing. 
There were just thirteen Indians — an unlucky number — and 
\Vi\l feared that they might discover the scouting party 
ihould it attempt to return to the main command. He 
lad but to question his companions to find them ready to 
ollow wheresoever he might lead, and they moved cau- 
"iously toward the Indian camp. 

At the proper moment the seven rushed upon the 
ansuspecting warriors, who sprang for their horses and gave 
Dattle. But the rattle of the rifles brought Captain Mein- 
lold to the scene, and when the Indians saw the reinforce- 
Tients coming up they turned and fled. Six of their 



number were dead on the plain, and nearly all of the stole 
horses were recovered. One soldier was killed, and thi 
Avas one of the few occasions when Will received | 
wound. • 

And now once more was the versatile plainsman calle| 
upon to enact a new role. Returning from a long scout i| 
the fall of 1872, he found that his friends had made him I 
candidate for the Nebraska legislature from the twent}|i 
sixth district. He had never thought seriously of politics i 
and had a well-defined doubt of his fitness as a law-makei 
He made no campaign, but was elected by a flatterin 
majority. He was now privileged to prefix the titl 
''Honorable" to his name, and later this was supplante 
by ''Colonel" — a title won in the Nebraska Nation* j 
Guard, and which he claims is much better suited to hi| 
attainments. | 

Will, unlike his father, had no taste for politics or fc^ 
political honors. I recall one answer — so characteristic c] 
the man — to some friends who were urging him to entej 
the political arena. "No," said he, "politics are by faiS 
too deep for me. I think I can hold my own in any faij 
and no foul fight; but politics seem to me all foul and n 
fair. I thank you, my friends, but I must decline to se 
out on this trail, which I know has more cactus bur 
to the square inch than any I ever followed on th 
plains." I 

Meantime Ned Buntline had been nurturing an ambi 
tious project. He had been much impressed by the fiq 
appearance made by Will in the New York theater, ai| 
was confident that a fortune awaited the scout if he woul 
consent to enter the theatrical profession. He conceivJ 
the idea of writing a drama entitled "The Scout of tq 
Plains," in which Will was to assume the title role aiJ 


ijiine as a star of the first magnitude. The bait he 
jangled was that the play should be made up entirely of 
ontier scenes, which would not only entertain the public, 
Lit instruct it. 

The bait was nibbled at, and finally swallowed, but 
icre was a proviso that Wild Bill and Texas Jack must 
rst be won over to act as ''pards" in the enterprise. He 
;lcgraphed his two friends that he needed their aid in an 
nportant business matter, and went to Chicago to meet 
lem. He was well assured that if he had given them an 
kling of the nature of the ^'business matter," neither 
ould put in an appearance; but he relied on Ned Bunt- 
le's persuasive powers, which were well developed. 

There had never been a time when Wild Bill and Texas 
ick declined to follow Will's lead, and on a certain morn- 
g the trio presented themselves at the Palmer House in 
liicago for an interview with Colonel Judson. 

The author could scarcely restrain his delight. All 
iree of the scouts were men of fine physique and dashing 
)pearance. It was very possible that they had one or two 
lings to learn about acting, but their inexperience would 
I more than balanced by their reputation and personal 
)pearance, and the knowledge that they were enacting 
1 the stage mock scenes of what to them had oft been 
ern reality. 

''Don't shoot, pards!" began Will, when the confer- 
ice opened. ''I guess, Judson," he continued, after 
u"nly trying to find a diplomatic explanation, ''you'd 
^tter tell them what we want." 

Buntline opened with enthusiasm, but he did not kindle 
'ild Bill and Texas Jack, who looked as if they might at 
\y moment grab their sombreros and stampede for the 
ontier. Will turned the scale. 



"We're bound to make a fortune at it," said l^j! 
''Try it for a while, anyway." t; 

The upshot of a long discussion was that the scout 
gave a reluctant consent to a much-dreaded venture. Wil | 
made one stipulation. 

'*If the Indians get on the rampage," said he, "w*! 
must be allowed leave of absence to go back and settle them.' 

''AH right, boys," said Buntline; "that shall be put ii ! 
the contract. And if you're called back into the army t(j 
fight redskins, I'll go with you." i 

This reply established the author firmly in the esteeni 
of the scouts. The play was written in four hours (mos I 
playwrights allow themselves at least a week), and th(i 
actor-scouts received their "parts." Buntline engaged ii 
company to support the stellar trio, and the play wa \ 
widely advertised. \ 

When the critical "first night" arrived, none of th<j 
scouts knew a line of his part, but each had acquired al] 
the varieties of stage fright known to the profession i 
Buntline had hinted to them the possibility of somethin| ! 
of the sort, but they had not realized to what a conditioi; 
of abject dismay a man may be reduced by the sight of < ! 
few hundred inoffensive people in front of a theater curtain , 
It would have done them no good to have told them (as i;j 
the truth) that many experienced actors have touches o | 
stage fright, as well as the unfortunate novice. All thre(j 
declared that they would rather face a band of war-paintec 
Indians, or undertake to check a herd of stampeding buffa 
loes, than face the peaceful-looking audience that was wait 
ing to criticise their Thespian efforts. 

Like almost all amateurs, they insisted on peering 
through the peep-holes in the curtain, which augmentecj 
their nervousness, and if the persuasive Colonel Judson hac| 



lot been at their elbows, reminding them that he, also, 
vas to take part in the play, it is more than likely they 
vould have slipped quietly out at the stage door and 
)Ought railway passage to the West. 

Presently the curtain rolled up, and the audience 
ipplauded encouragingly as three quaking six-footers, clad 
n buckskin, made their first bow before the footlights. 

I have said that Will did not know a line of his part, 
lor did he when the time to make his opening speech 
.rrived. It had been faithfully memorized, but oozed from 
lis mind like the courage from Bob Acres's finger-tips. 
'Evidently," thought Buntline, who was on the stage with 
lim, '*he needs time to recover." So he asked carelessly: 

"What have you been about lately, Bill?" 

This gave ''The Scout of the Plains" an inspiration, 
n glancing over the audience, he had recognized in one 
)f the boxes a wealthy gentleman named Milligan, whom 
le had once guided on a big hunt near McPherson. The 
•xpedition had been written up by the Chicago papers, and 
he incidents of it were well known. 

"I've been out on a hunt with Milligan," replied Will, 
.nd the house came down. Milligan was quite popular, 
)ut had been the butt of innumerable jokes because of his 
.lleged scare over the Indians. The applause and laughter 
hat greeted the sally stocked the scout with confidence, 
)ut confidence is of no use if one has forgotten his part, 
t became manifest to the playwright-actor that he would 
lave to prepare another play in place of the one he had 
xpected to perform, and that he must prepare it on the spot. 

"Tell us about it, Bill," said he, and the prompter 

One of the pleasures of frontier life consists in telling 
tories around the camp-fire. A man who ranks as a good 


frontiersman is pretty sure to be a good raconteur. Will i 
was at ease immediately, and proceeded to relate the story 
of Milligan's hunt in his own words. That it was amusing 
was attested by the frequent rounds of applause. The 
prompter, with a commendable desire to get things run- 
ning smoothly, tried again and again to give Will his cue, 
but even cues had been forgotten. |! 

The dialogue of that performance must have been \ 
delightfully absurd. Neither Texas Jack nor Wild Billl 
was able to utter a line of his part during the entire even- 1 
ing. In the Indian scenes, however, they scored a great | 
success; here was work that did not need to be painfully | 
memorized, and the mock red men were slain at an aston- [ 
ishing rate. I 

Financially the play proved all that its projectors could i 
ask for. Artistically — well, the critics had a great deal ofs 
fun with the hapless dramatist. The professionals in thej 
company had played their parts acceptably, and, oddly i 
enough, the scouts were let down gently in the criticisms;; 
but the critics had no means of knowing that the stars of) 
the piece had provided their own dialogue, and poor Ned^ 
Buntline was plastered with ridicule. It had got out that^ 
the play was written in four hours, and in mentioning thisj 
fact, one paper wondered, with delicate sarcasm, what the] 
dramatist had been doing all that time. Buntline had ; 
played the part of "Gale Durg," who met death in the! 
second act, and a second paper, commenting on this, sug-j 
gested that it would have been a happy consummation had ; 
the death occurred before the play was written. A thirds 
critic pronounced it a drama that might be begun in thej 
middle and played both ways, or played backward, quite 1 
as well as the way in which it had been written. | 

However, nothing succeeds like success. A number ofj 




nanagers offered to take hold of the company, and others 
isked for entrance to the enterprise as partners. Ned 
3untHne took his medicine from the critics with a smiling 
ace, for ''let him laugh who wins." 

The scouts soon got over their stage fright, in the 
;ourse of time were able to remember their parts, and did 
ully their share toward making the play as much of a suc- 
cess artistically as it was financially. From Chicago the 
:ompany went to St. Louis, thence to Cincinnati and 
)ther large cities, and everywhere drew large and appreci- 
itive houses. 

When the season closed, in Boston, and Will had made 
lis preparations to return to Nebraska, an English gentle- 
nan named Medley, presented himself, with a request that 
he scout act as guide on a big hunt and camping trip 
;hrough Western territory. The pay offered was liberal — 
I thousand dollars a month and expenses — and Will 
iccepted the offer. He spent that summer in his old occu- 
pation, and the ensuing winter continued his tour as a 
5tar of the drama. Wild Bill and Texas Jack consented 
igain to ''support" him, but the second season proved too 
nuch for the patience of the former, and he attempted to 
Dreak through the contract he had signed for the season. 
The manager, of course, refused to release him, but Wild 
Bill conceived the notion that under certain circumstances 
the company would be glad to get rid of him. 

That night he put his plan into execution by discharg- 
ing his blank cartridges so near the legs of the dead Indians 
on the stage that the startled "supers" came to life with 
more realistic yells than had accompanied their deaths. 
This was a bit of "business" not called for in the play- 
book, and while the audience was vastly entertained, the 
management withheld its approval. 


Will was delegated to expostulate with the recklesi 
Indian-slayer; but Wild Bill remarked calmly that he 
''hadn't hurt the fellows any," and he continued to indulge 
in his innocent pastime. 

Severe measures were next resorted to. He waij 
informed that he must stop shooting the Indians after thej;j 
were dead, or leave the company. This was what Wild I 
Bill had hoped for, and when the curtain went up on tht^ 
next performance he was to be seen in the audience, enjoy- j 
ing the play for the first time since he had been mixed upj 
with it. ^ 

Will sympathized with his former ''support, " but he i 
had a duty to perform, and faithfully endeavored to per-| 
suade the recreant actor to return to the company. Per-j 
suasion went for nothing, so the contract was annulled,] 
and Wild Bill returned to his beloved plains. j 

The next season Will removed his family to Rochester,! 
and organized a theatrical company of his own. There ^ 
was too much artificiality about stage life to suit one thatj 
had been accustomed to stern reality, and he sought to dci 
away with this as much as possible by introducing into his 
own company a band of real Indians. The season ol 
1875-76 opened brilliantly; the company played to crowded 
houses, and Will made a large financial success. 

One night in April, when the season was nearing its 
close, a telegram was handed to him, just as he was about 
to step upon the stage. It was from his wife, and sum- 
moned him to Rochester, to the bedside of his only son, 
Kit Carson Cody. He consulted w^ith his manager, and it 
was arranged that after the first act he should be excused, 
that he might catch the train. 

That first act was a miserable experience, though the 
audience did not suspect that the actor's heart was almos^: 




stopped by fear and anxiety. He caught his train, and 
the manager, John Burke, an actor of much experience, 
played out the part. 

It was, too, a miserable ride to Rochester, filled up 
with the gloomiest of forebodings, heightened by memories 
of every incident in the precious little life now in danger. 

Kit was a handsome child, with striking features and 
curly hair. His mother always dressed him in the finest 
clothes, and tempted by these combined attractions, gyp- 
sies had carried him away the previous summer. But Kit 
was the son of a scout, and his young eyes were sharp. 
He marked the trail followed by his captors, and at the 
first opportunity gave them the slip and got safely home, 
exclaiming as he toddled into the sobbing family circle, 
''I tumed back adain, mama; don't cry." Despite his 
anxiety. Will smiled at the recollection of the season when 
his little son had been a regular visitor at the theater. The 
little fellow knew that the most important feature of a 
dramatic performance, from a management's point of view, 
is a large audience. He watched the seats fill in keen 
anxiety, and the moment the curtain rose and his father 
appeared on the stage, he would make a trumpet of his lit- 
tle hands, and shout from his box, '^Good house, papa!" 
The audience learned to expect and enjoy this bit of 
by-play between father and son. His duty performed, 
I Kit settled himself in his seat, and gave himself up to 
undisturbed enjoyment of the play. 

When ,Will reached Rochester he found his son still 
alive, though beyond the reach of medical aid. He was 
burning up with fever, but still conscious, and the Tittle 
arms were joyfully lifted to clasp around his father's neck. 
He lingered during the next day and into the night, but 
the end came, and Will faced a great sorrow of his life. 



He had built fond hopes for his son, and in a breath th( 
had been swept away. His boyhood musings over tl 
prophecy of the fortune-teller had taken a turn when hi 
own boy was born. It might be Kit's destiny to becoi 
President of the United States; it was not his own. Now, j 
hope and fear had vanished together, the fabric of the I 
dream had dissolved, and left ^''not a rack behind.'* 

Little Kit was laid to rest in Mount Hope Cemetery, 
April 24, 1876. He is not dead, but sleeping; not lost, 
but gone before. He has joined the innumerable company 
of the white-souled throng in the regions of the blest. He 
has gone to aid my mother in her mission unfulfilled — that 
of turning heavenward the eyes of those that loved them so ■ 
dearly here on earth. 



I Very glad was the sad-hearted father that the theatrical 
season was so nearly over. The mummeries of stage life 
were more distasteful to him than ever when he returned 
to his company with his crushing grief fresh upon him. 
He played nightly to crowded houses, but it was plain that 
his heart was not in his work. A letter from Colonel 
Mills, informing him that his services were needed in the 
army, came as a welcome relief. He canceled his few 
remaining dates, and disbanded his company with a sub- 
stantial remuneration. 

This was the spring of the Centennial year. It has also 
been called the 'Xuster year, " for during that summer the 
gallant general and his heroic Three Hundred fell in their 
unequal contest with Sitting Bull and his warriors. 

Sitting Bull was one of the ablest chiefs and fighters 
the Sioux nation ever produced. He got his name from 
the fact that once when he had shot a buffalo he sprang 
astride of it to skin it, and the wounded bull rose on its 
haunches with the Indian on its back. He combined 
native Indian cunning with the strategy and finesse needed 
to make a great general, and his ability as a leader was 
conceded alike by red and white man. A dangerous man 
at best, the wrongs his people had suffered roused all his 
Indian cruelty, vindictiveness, hatred, and thirst for 



The Sioux war of 1876 had its origin, like most of its | 
predecessors and successors, in an act of injustice on thej| 
part of the United States government and a violation of li 
treaty rights. \ 

In 1868 a treaty had been made with the Sioux, by| 
which the Black Hills country was reserved for their exclu- J 
sive use, no settling by white men to be allowed. In 1874 
gold was discovered, and the usual gold fever was followed 
by a rush of whites into the Indian country. The Sioux 
naturally resented the intrusion, and instead of attempting 
to placate them, to the end that the treaty might be 
revised, the government sent General Custer into the Black 
Hills with instructions to intimidate the Indians into sub- 
mission. But Custer was too wise, too familar with Indian 
nature, to adhere to his instructions to the letter. Under 
cover of a flag of truce a council was arranged. At this 
gathering coffee, sugar, and bacon were distributed among! 
the .Indians, and along with those commodities Custe^ 
handed around some advice. This was to the effect tha 
it would be to the advantage of the Sioux if they permitte 
the miners to occupy the gold country. The coffee, sugar^ 
and bacon were accepted thankfully by Lo, but no nation^ 
tribe, or individual since the world began has ever wel 
comed advice. It was thrown away on Lo. He receivec 
it with such an air of indifference and in such a stoica 
silence that General Custer had no hope his mission ha( 

In 1875 General Crook was sent into the Hills to mak 
a farcical demonstration of the government's desire tc 
maintain good faith, but no one was deceived, the Indian^ 
least of all. In August Custer City was laid out, and in| 
two weeks its population numbered six hundred. Genera^ 
Crook drove out the inhabitants, and as he marched tri-t 


umphantly out of one end of the village the people marched 
in again at the other. 

The result of this continued bad faith was inevitable; 
everywhere the Sioux rose in arms. Strange as it might 
seem to one who has not followed the government's remark- 
able Indian policy, it had dispensed firearms to the Indi- 
ans with a generous hand. The government's Indian 
policy, condensed, was to stock the red man with rifles 
and cartridges, and then provide him with a first-class 
ireason for using them against the whites. During May, 
June, and July of that year the Sioux had received I,i20 
I Remington and Winchester rifles and 13,000 rounds of 
[patent ammunition. During that year they received sev- 
'eral thousand stands of arms and more than a million 
rounds of ammunition, and for three years before that they 
'had been regularly supplied with weapons. The Sioux 
I uprising of 1876 was expensive for the government. One 
does not have to go far to find the explanation. 

Will expected to join General Crook, but on reaching 
Chicago he found that General Carr was still in command 
of the Fifth Cavalry, and had sent a request that W^ill 
return to his old regiment. Carr was at Cheyenne; thither 
Will hastened at once. He was met at the station by Cap- 
tain Charles King, the well-known author, and later serving 
as brigadier-general at Manila, then adjutant of the regiment. 
As the pair rode into camp the cry went up, "Here comes 
Buffalo Bill!" Three ringing cheers expressed the delight 
of the troopers over his return to his old command, and 
Will was equally delighted to meet his quondam compan- 
ions. He was appointed guide and chief of scouts, and 
the regiment proceeded to Laramie. From there they 
were ordered into the Black Hills country, and Colonel 
Merritt replaced General Carr. 


The incidents of Custer's fight and fall are so well known I 
that it is not necessary to repeat them here. It was a bet- - | 
ter fight than the famous charge of the Light Brigade at j 
Balaklava, for not one of the three hundred came forth f 
from the *'jaws of death." As at Balaklava, ''some one | 
had blundered," not once, but many times, and Custer's \ 
command discharged the entire debt with their lifeblood. 

When the news of the tragedy reached the main army, 
preparations were made to move against the Indians in force. 
The Fifth Cavalry was instructed to cut off, if possible, 
eight hundred Cheyenne warriors on their way to join the 
Sioux, and Colonel Wesley Merritt, with five hundred men,' 
hastened to Hat, or War-Bonnet, Creek, purposing to reach 
the trail before the Indians could do so. The creek was 
reached on the 17th of July, and at daylight the following 
morning Will rode forth to ascertain whether the Cheyennes 
had crossed the trail. They had not, but that very dayj 
the scout discerned the warriors coming up from the south.' 

Colonel Merritt ordered his men to mount their horses, | 
but to remain out of sight, while he, with his adjutant, | 
Charles King, accompanied Will on a tour of observation. J 
The Cheyennes came directly toward the troops, and pres- f 
ently fifteen or twenty of them dashed off to the west along ^ 
the trail the army had followed the night before. Through | 
his glass Colonel Merritt remarked two soldiers on the^ 
trail, doubtless couriers with dispatches, and these theS 
Indians manifestly designed to cut off. Will suggested that J 
it would be well to wait until the warriors were on the point* 
of charging the couriers, when, if the colonel were willing,"^ 
he would take a party of picked men and cut off the hos- 
tile delegation from the main body, which was just coming l 
over the divide. ^ 

The colonel acquiesced, and Will, galloping back to A 



camp, returned with fifteen men. The couriers were some 
four hundred yards away, and their Indian pursuers two 
hundred behind them. Colonel Merritt gave the word to 
charge, and Will and his men skurried toward the redskins. 

In the skirmish that ensued three Indians were killed. 
The rest started for the main band of warriors, who had 
halted to watch the fight, but they were so hotly pursued 
by the soldiers that they turned at a point half a mile dis- 
tant from Colonel Merritt, and another skirmish took place. 

Here something a little out of the usual occurred — a 
challenge to a duel. A warrior, whose decorations and 
war-bonnet proclaimed him a chief, rode out in front of his 
men, and called out in his own tongue, which Will could 
understand : 

*'I know you, Pa-has-ka! Come and fight me, if you 
want to fight!" 

Will rode forward fifty yards, and the warrior advanced 
a like distance. The two rifles spoke, and the Indian's 
horse fell; but at the same moment Will's horse stumbled 
into a gopher-hole and threw its rider. Both duelists were 
instantly on their feet, confronting each other across a 
space of not more than twenty paces. They fired again 
simultaneously, and though Will was unhurt, the Indian 
fell dead. 

The duel over, some two hundred warriors dashed up 
to recover the chieftain's body and to avenge his death. 
It was now Colonel Merritt's turn to move. He dispatched 
a company of soldiers to Will's aid, and then ordered the 
whole regiment to the charge. As the soldiers advanced, 
Will swung the Indian's topknot and war-bonnet which he 
had secured, and shouted, ''The first scalp for Custer!" 

The Indians made a stubborn resistance, but as they 
found this useless, began a retreat toward Red Cloud 



agency, whence they had come. The retreat continued' 
for thirty-five miles, the troops following into the agency. 
The fighting blood of the Fifth was at fever heat, and they ^ 
were ready to encounter the thousands of warriors at thei 
agency should they exhibit a desire for battle. But theyl 
manifested no such desire. 1 

Will learned that the name of the chief he had killed | 
that morning was ''Yellow Hand." He was the son of| 
''Cut Nose," a leading spirit among the Cheyennes. This 
old chieftain offered Will four mules if he would return the^ 
war-bonnet and accouterments worn by the young warrior 
and captured in the fight, but Will did not grant thej 
request, much as he pitied Cut Nose in his grief. 

The Fifth Cavalry on the following morning started on 
its march to join General Crook's command in the Big; 
Horn Mountains. The two commands united forces on 
the 3d of August, and marched to the confluence of thC; 
Powder River with the Yellowstone. Here General Miles 
met them, to report that no Indians had crossed the stream. 

No other fight occurred; but Will made himself useful j 
in his capacity of scout. There were many long, hard^ 
rides, carrying dispatches that no one else would volunteer " 
to bear. When he was assured that the fighting was all .| 
over, he took passage, in September, on the steamer "Far ^ 
West," and sailed down the Missouri. | 

People in the Eastern States were wonderfully inter- J 
ested in the stirring events on the frontier, and Will con- | 
ceived the idea of putting the incidents of the Sioux war i 
upon the stage. Upon his return to Rochester he had a | 
play written for his purpose, organized a company, and | 
opened his season. Previously he had paid a flying visit 
to Red Cloud agency, and induced a number of Sioux :.; 
Indians to take part in his drama. h 




The red men had no such painful experience as Wild 
Bill and Texas Jack. All they were expected to do in the 
way of acting was what came natural to them. Their part 
was to introduce a bit of "local color," to give a war-dance, 
take part in a skirmish, or exhibit themselves in some 
typical Indian fashion. 

At the close of this season Will bought a large tract of 
land near North Platte, and started a cattle-ranch. He 
already owned one some distance to the northward, in 
partnership with Major North, the leader of the Pawnee 
scouts. Their friendship had strengthened since their first 
meeting, ten years before. 

In this new ranch Will takes great pride. He has added 
to its area until it now covers seven thousand acres, and he 
has developed its resources to the utmost. Twenty-five 
hundred acres are devoted to alfalfa and twenty-five hun- 
dred sown to corn. One of the features of interest to vis- 
itors is a wooded park, containing a number of deer and 
young buffaloes. Near the park is a beautiful lake. In 
the center of the broad tract of land stands the picturesque 
building known as Scout's Rest Ranch," which, seen 
from the foothills, has the appearance of an old castle. 

The ranch is one of the most beautiful spots that one 
can imagine, and is, besides, an object-lesson in the value 
of scientific investigation and experiment joined with per- 
sistence and perseverance. When Will bought the prop- 
erty he was an enthusiastic believer in the possibilities of 
Nebraska development. His brother-in-law, Mr. Good- 
man, was put in charge of the place. 

The whole Platte Valley formed part of the district 
once miscalled the Great American Desert. It was an idea 
commonly accepted, but, as the sequel proved, erroneous, 
that lack of moisture was the cause of lack of vegetation. 



An irrigating ditch was constructed on the ranch, trees were 
planted, and it was hoped that with such an abundance of ' 
moisture they would spring up like weeds. Vain hope I 
There was ''water, water everywhere," but not a tree 
would grow. 

Will visited his old Kansas home, and the sight of tall 
and stately trees filled him with a desire to transport some 
of this beauty to his Nebraska ranch. 

'Td give five hundred dollars," said he, ''for every 
tree I had like that in Nebraska!" 

Impressed by the proprietor's enthusiasm for arboreal 
development, Mr. Goodman began investigation and 
experiment. It took him but a short time to acquire a 
knowledge of the deficiencies of the soil, and this done, 
the bigger half of the problem was solved. 

Indian legend tells us that this part of our country was 
once an inland sea. There is authority for the statement 
that to-day it is a vast subterranean reservoir, and the con- 
ditions warrant the assertion. The soil in all the region 
has a depth only of from one to three feet, while underly- 
ing the shallow arable deposit is one immense bedrock, 
varying in thickness, the average being from three to six 
feet. Everywhere water may be tapped by digging 
through the thin soil and boring through the rock forma- 
tion. The country gained its reputation as a desert, not 
from lack of moisture, but from lack of soil. In the pock- 
ets of the foothills, where a greater depth of soil had 
accumulated from the washings of the slopes above, beau- 
tiful little groves of trees might be found, and the islands 
of the Platte River were heavily wooded. Everywhere 
else was a treeless waste. 

The philosophy of the transformation from sea to plain 
is not fully understood. The most tenable theory yet 



advanced is that the bedrock is an alkaline deposit, left by 
the waters in a gradually widening and deepening margin. 
On this the prairie wind sifted its accumulation of dust, 
and the rain washed down its quota from the bank above. 
In the slow process of -countless years the rock formation 
extended over the whole sea ; the alluvial deposit deepened ; 
seeds lodged in it, and the buffalo-grass and sage-brush 
began to grow, their yearly decay adding to the ever-thick- 
ening layer of soil. 

Having learned the secret of the earth, Mr. Goodman 
devoted himself to the study of the trees. He investigated 
those varieties having lateral roots, to determine which 
would flourish best in a shallow soil. He experimented, he 
failed, and he tried again. All things come round to him 
who will but work. Many experiments succeeded the 
first, and many failures followed in their train. But at last, 
like Archimedes, he could cry "Eureka! I have found 
it!" In a very short time he had the ranch charmingly 
laid out with rows of cottonwoods, box-elder, and other 
members of the tree family. The ranch looked like an oasis 
in the desert, and neighbors inquired into the secret of the 
magic that had worked so marvelous a transformation. 
The streets of North Platte are now beautiful with trees, 
and adjoining farms grow many more. It is ''Scout's Rest 
Ranch," however, that is pointed out with pride to trav- 
elers on the Union Pacific Railroad. 

Mindful of his resolve to one day have a residence in 
North Platte, Will purchased the site on which his first 
residence was erected. His family had sojourned in 
Rochester for several years, and when they returned to the 
West the new home was built according to the wishes and 
under the supervision of the wife and mother. To the 
dwelling was given the name ''Welcome Wigwam." 



It was during this period of his life that my brother's first-^ 
literary venture was made. As the reader has seen, his J 
school-days were few in number, and as he told Mr. Majors, > 
in signing his first contract with him, he could use a rifle'5 
better than a pen. A life of constant action on the fron- ^ 
tier does not leave a man much time for acquiring an^ 
education ; so it is no great wonder that the first sketch i 
Will wrote for publication was destitute of punctuation and 
short of capitals in many places. His attention was J 
directed to these shortcomings, but Western life had culti-^ 
vated a disdain for petty things. 

"Life is too short," said he, *'to make big letters when j 
small ones will do ; and as for punctuation, if my readers J 
don't know enough to take their breath without those little •! 
marks, they'll have to lose it, that's all." ' 

But in spite of his jesting, it was characteristic of him 1 
that when he undertook anything he wished to do it well. ■ 
He now had leisure for study, and he used it to such good j 
advantage that he was soon able to send to the publishers j 
a clean manuscript, grammatical, and well spelled, capital- ; 
ized, and punctuated. The publishers appreciated the j 
improvement, though they had sought after his work in its j 
crude state, and paid good prices for it. j 

Our author would never consent to write anything • 
except actual scenes from border life. As a sop to the] 

222 1 



Cerberus of sensationalism, he did occasionally condescend 
to heighten his effects by exaggeration. In sending one 
story to the publisher he wrote : 

"I am sorry to have to lie so outrageously in this yarn. 
My hero has killed more Indians on one war-trail than I 
have killed in all my life. But I understand this is what is 
expected in border tales. If you think the revolver and 
bowie-knife are used too freely, you may cut out a fatal 
shot or stab wherever you deem it wise." 

Even this story, which one accustomed to border life 
confessed to be exaggerated, fell far short of the sensa- 
tional and blood-curdling tales usually written, and was 
published exactly as the author wrote it. 

During the summer of 1877 I paid a visit to our relatives 
in Westchester, Pennsylvania. My husband had lost all 
his wealth before his death, and I was obliged to rely upon 
my brother for support. To meet a widespread demand, 
Will this summer wrote his autobiography. It was pub- 
lished at Hartford, Connecticut, and I, anxious to do 
something for myself, took the general agency of the book 
for the state of Ohio, spending a part of the summer there 
in pushing its sale. But I soon tired of a business life, and 
turning over the agency to other hands, went from Cleve- 
land to visit Will at his new home in North Platte, where 
there were a number of other guests at the time. 

Besides his cattle-ranch in the vicinity of North Platte, 
Will had another ranch on the Dismal River, sixty-five 
miles north, touching the Dakota line. One day he 
remarked to us: 

''I'm sorry to leave you to your own resources for a 
few days, but I must take a run up to my ranch on Dismal 

Not since our early Kansas trip had I had an experience 


in camping out, and in those days I was ahnost too young 
to appreciate it ; but it had left me with a keen desire to 
try it again. 

"Let us all go with you, Will," I exclaimed. ''W& 
can camp out on the road." 'm 

Uur friends added their approval, and Will fell in with 
the suggestion at once. 

'^There's no reason why you can't go if you wish to,"1 
said he. Will owned numerous conveyances, and was able j 
to provide ways and means to carry us all comfortably. 
Lou and the two little girls, Arta and Orra, rode in an | 
open phaeton. There were covered carriages,' surreys, and 
a variety of turn-outs to transport the invited guests. Sev- 
eral prominent citizens of North Platte were invited to join 
the party, and when our arrangements were completed we^ 
numbered twenty-five. 

Will took a caterer along, and made ample provisions' 
for the inner man and woman. He knew, from long; 
experience, that a camping trip without an abundance of 
food is rather a dreary affair. 

All of us except Will were out for pleasure solely, and 
we found time to enjoy ourselves even during the first day's|f 
ride of twenty-five miles. As we looked around at the neWv! 
and wild scenes while the tents were pitched for the night, \ 
Will led the ladies of the party to a tree, saying: ? 

''You are the first white women whose feet have trod| 
this region. Carve your names here, and celebrate the j 
event." -| 

After a good night's rest and a bounteous breakfast, we 'i 
set out in high spirits, and were soon far out in the foot- %^ 
hills. I 

One who has never seen these peculiar formations can? 
have but little idea of them. On every side, as far as the| 




eye can see, undulations of earth stretch away like the 
waves of the ocean, and on them no vegetation flourishes 
save buffalo-grass, sage-brush, and the cactus, blooming 
but thorny. 

The second day I rode horseback, in company with 
Will and one or two others of the party, over a constant 
succession of hill and vale; we mounted an elevation and 
descended its farther side, only to be confronted by another 
hill. The horseback party was somewhat in advance of 
those in carriages. 

From the top of one hill Will scanned the country with 
his field-glass, and remarked that some deer were headed 
our way, and that we should have fresh venison for dinner. 
He directed us to ride down into the valley and tarry 
there, so that we might not startle the timid animals, while 
he continued part way up the hill and halted in position to 
get a good shot at the first one that came over the knoll. 
A fawn presently bounded into view, and Will brought his 
rifle to his shoulder; but much to our surprise, instead of 
firing, dropped the weapon to his side. Another fawn 
passed him before he fired, and as the little creature 
fell we rode up to Will and began chaffing him unmercifully, 
one gentleman remarking: 

*'It is difficult to believe we are in the presence of the 
crack shot of America, when we see him allow two deer to 
pass by before he brings one down." 

But to the laughing and chaffing Will answered not a 
word, and recalling the childish story I had heard of his 
buck fever, I wondered if, at this late date, it were pos- 
sible for him to have another attack of that kind. The 
deer was handed over to the commissary department, and 
we rode on. 

''Will, what was the matter with you just now?" I 


asked him, privately. "Why didn't you shoot that fi 
deer; did you have another attack like you had when you 
were a little boy?" 

He rode along in silence for a few moments, and then 
turned to me with the query: ^1 

"Did you ever look into a deer's eyes?" And as I 
replied that I had not, he continued : 

"Every one has his little weakness; mine is a deer's eye. 
I don't want you to say anything about it to your friends, 
for they would laugh more than ever, but the fact is I have 
never yet been able to shoot a deer if it looked me in the 
eye. With a buffalo, or a bear, or an Indian, it is differ- 
ent. But a deer has the eye of a trusting child, soft, 
gentle, and confiding. No one but a brute could shoot a | 
deer if he caught that look. The first that came over the | 
knoll looked straight at me; I let it go by, and did not ' 
look at the second until I was sure it had passed me." | 

He seemed somewhat ashamed of his soft-heartedness: | 
yet to me it was but one of many little incidents that| 
revealed a side of his nature the rough life of the frontier^ 
had not corrupted. \ 

Will expected to reach the Dismal River on the third | 
day, and at noon of it he remarked that he had better ride 1 
ahead and give notice of our coming, for the man who " 
looked after the ranch had his wife with him, and she would J 
likely be dismayed at the thought of preparing supper for | 
so large a crowd on a minute's notice. | 

Sister Julia's son. Will Goodman, a lad of fifteen, was j 
of our party, and he offered to be the courier. J 

"Are you sure you know the way?" asked his uncle. j 

"Oh, yes," was the confident response; "you know > 
I have been over the road with you before, and I know | 
just how to go. " 




''Well, tell me how you would go." 

Young Will described the trail so accurately that his 
uncle concluded it would be safe for him to undertake the 
trip, and the lad rode ahead, happy and important. 

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the ranch, 
and the greeting of the overseer was : 

"Well, well; what's all this?" 

"Didn't you know we were coming?" asked Will, 
quickly. "Hasn't Will Goodman been here?" The 
ranchman shook his head. 

"Haven't seen him, sir," he replied, "since he was 
here with you before, 

"Well, he'll be along," said Will, quietly; but I 
detected a ring of anxiety in his voice. "Go into the 
house and make yourselves comfortable," he added. "It 
will be some time before a meal can be prepared for such a 
supper party. " We entered the house, but he remained 
outside, and mounting the stile that served as a gate, 
examined the nearer hills with his glass. There was no 
sign of Will, Jr. ; so the ranchman was directed to dispatch 
five or six men in as many directions to search for the boy, 
and as they hastened away on their mission Will remained 
on the stile, running his fingers every few minutes through 
the hair over his forehead — a characteristic action with him 
when worried. Thinking I might reassure him, I came out 
and chided him gently for what I was pleased to regard as 
his needless anxiety. It was impossible for Willie to lose 
his way very long, I explained, without knowing anything 
about my subject. "See how far you can look over these 
hills. It is not as if he were in the woods," said I. 

Will looked at me steadily and pityingly for a moment. 
"Go back in the house, Nell," said he, with a touch of 
impatience; "you don't know what you are talking about." 




That was true enough, but when I returned obediently 
to the house I repeated my opinion that worry over the 
absent boy was needless, for it would be difficult, I declared, 
for one to lose himself where the range of vision was so-> 
extensive as it was from the top of one of these foothills."^! 

''But suppose," said one of the party, "that you were] 
in the valley behind one of the foothills — what then?" ^ 

This led to an animated discussion as to the danger of 
getting lost in this long-range locality, and in the midst of^ 
it Will walked in, his equanimity quite restored. 

'' It's all right, ' ' said he ; ' ' I can see the youngster com 
ing along." 

We flocked to the stile, and discovered a moving spec 
in the distance. Looked at through the field-glasses, it 
proved to be the belated courier. Then we appealed ta^ 
Will to settle the question that had been under discussion. 

''Ladies and gentlemen," he answered, impressively, 
"if one of you were lost among these foothills, and a whole 
regiment started out in search of you, the chances are ten 
to one that you would starve to death, to say the least, 
before you could be found." 

To find the way with ease and locate the trail unerr- 
ingly over an endless and monotonous succession of hills^ 
identical in appearance is an ability the Indian possesses, 
but few are the white men that can imitate the aborigine.^ 
I learned afterward that it was accounted one of Will 
great accomplishments as a scout that he was perfectly at'l 
home among the frozen waves of the prairie ocean. 

When the laggard arrived, and was pressed for particu-,* 
lars, he declared he had traveled eight or ten miles whenJ 
he found that he was off the trail. "I thought I was| 
lost," said he; "but after considering the matter I decided | 
that I had one chance — that was to go back over my own'* 




tracks. The marks of my horse's hoofs led me out on the 
main trail, and your tracks were so fresh that I had no 
further trouble." 

''Pretty good," said Will, patting the boy's shoulder. 
''Pretty good. You have some of the Cody blood in you, 
that's plain. " 

The next day was passed in looking over the ranch, 
and the day following we visited, at Will's solicitation, a 
spot that he had named "The Garden of the Gods." Our 
thoughtful host had sent ranchmen ahead to prepare the 
place for our reception, and we were as surprised and 
delighted as he could desire. A patch on the river's brink 
was filled with tall and stately trees and luxuriant shrubs, 
laden with fruits and flowers, while birds of every hue 
nested and sang about us. It was a miniature paradise in 
the midst of a desert of sage-brush and buffalo-grass. The 
interspaces of the grove were covered with rich green grass, 
and in one of these nature-carpeted nooks the workmen, 
under Will's direction, had put up an arbor, with rustic 
seats and table. Herein we ate our luncheon, and every 
sense was pleasured. 

As it was not likely that the women of the party would 
ever see the place again, so remote was it from civilization, 
belonging to the as yet uninhabited part of the Western 
plains, we decided to explore it, in the hope of finding 
something that would serve as a souvenir. We had not 
gone far when we found ourselves out of Eden and in the 
desert that surrounded it, but it was the desert that held 
our great discovery. On an isolated elevation stood a 
lone, tall tree, in the topmost branches of which reposed 
what seemed to be a large package. As soon as our imagi- 
nations got fairly to work the package became the hidden 
treasure of some prairie bandit, and while two of the party 

2 30 


returned for our masculine forces the rest of us kept guard 
over the cachet in the treetop. Will came up with the 
others, and when we pointed out to him the supposed 
chest of gold he smiled, saying that he was sorry to dissi- 1 
pate the hopes which the ladies had built in the tree, but \ 
that they were not gazing upon anything of intrinsic value, | 
but on the open sepulcher of some departed brave. ''It 1 
is a wonder," he remarked, laughingly, ''you women J 
didn't catch on to the skeleton in that closet." 

As we retraced our steps, somewhat crestfallen, we' 
listened to the tale of another of the red man's super- 

When some great chief, who particularly distinguishes 
himself on the war-path, loses his life on the battle-field 
without losing his scalp, he is regarded as especially favored % 
by the Great Spirit. A more exalted sepulcher than 
mother earth is deemed fitting for such a warrior. Accord- -| 
ingly he is wrapped in his blanket-shroud, and, in his war '^ 
paint and feathers and with his weapons by his side, he is 1 
placed in the top of the highest tree in the neighborhood, | 
the spot thenceforth being sacred against intrusion for a | 
certain number of moons. At the end of that period mes- ^ 
sengers are dispatched to ascertain if the remains have been > 
disturbed. If they have not, the departed is esteemed a| 
spirit chief, who, in the happy hunting-grounds, intercedes | 
for and leads on to sure victory the warriors who trusted to | 
his leadership in the material world. ^ 

We bade a reluctant adieu to the idyllic retreat, and | 
threw it many a backward glance as we took our way over I 
the desert that stretched between us and the ranch. Here j 
another night was passed, and then we set out for home. ? 
The brief sojourn "near to Nature's heart" had been a > 
delightful experience, holding for many of us the charm 3 



of novelty, and for all recreation and pleasant com- 

With the opening of the theatrical season Will returned 
to the stage, and his histrionic career continued for five 
years longer. As an actor he achieved a certain kind of 
success. He played in every large city of the United 
States, always to crowded houses, and was everywhere 
received with enthusiasm. There was no doubt of his 
financial success, whatever criticisms might be passed on 
the artistic side of his performance. It was his personality 
and reputation that interested his audiences. They did 
not expect the art of Sir Henry Irving, and you may be 
sure that they did not receive it. 

Will never enjoyed this part of his career; he endured 
it simply because it was the means to an end. He had 
not forgotten his boyish dream — his resolve that he would 
one day present to the world an exhibition that would give 
a realistic picture of life in the Far West, depicting its 
dangers and privations, as well as its picturesque phases. 
His first theatrical season had shown him how favorably 
such an exhibition would be received, and his long-cher- 
ished ambition began to take shape. He knew that an 
enormous amount of money would be needed, and to 
acquire such a sum he lived for many years behind the foot- 

I was present in a Leavenworth theater during one of 
his last performances — one in which he played the part of a 
loving swain to a would-be charming lassie. When the 
curtain fell on the last act I went behind the scenes, in 
company with a party of friends, and congratulated the 
star upon his excellent acting. 

''Oh, Nellie," he groaned, ''don't say anything about 




it. If heaven will forgive me this foolishness, I promiai 
to quit it forever when this season is over." M 
That was the way he felt about the stage, so far as hti 
part in it was concerned. He was a fish out of water. 
The feeble pretensions to a stern reality, and the mock' 
dangers exploited, could not but fail to seem trivial to one 
who had lived the very scenes depicted. 



I My brother was again bereaved in 1880 by the death of his 
Httle daughter Orra. At her own request, Orra's body was 
interred in Rochester, in beautiful Mount Hope Cemetery, 
by the side of Httle Kit Carson. 

But joy follows upon sadness, and the summer before 
Will spent his last season on the stage was a memorable 
one for him. It marked the birth of another daughter, 
iwho was christened Irma. This daughter is the very apple 
jof her father's eye; to her he gives the affection that is her 
due, and round her clings the halo of the tender memories 
of the other two that have departed this life. 

This year, 1882, was also the one in which Will paid his 
first visit to the valley of the Big Horn. He had often 
traversed the outskirts of that region, and heard incredible 
tales from Indians and trappers of its wonders and beau- 
jties, but he had yet to explore it himself. In his early 
experience as Pony Express rider, California Joe had related 
to him the first story he had heard of the enchanted basin, 
and in 1875, when he was in charge of a large body of 
Arapahoe Indians that had been permitted to leave their 
reservation for a big hunt, he obtained more details. 

The agent warned Will that some of the Indians were 
dissatisfied, and might attempt to escape, but to all ap- 
pearances, though he watched them sharply, they were 
entirely content. Game was plentiful, the weather fine, 



and nothing seemed omitted from the red man's hap 

One night about twelve o'clock Will was aroused by an 
Indian guide, who informed him that a party of some two 
hundred Arapahoes had started away some two hours 
before, and were on a journey northward. The red man 
does not wear his heart upon his sleeve for government 
daws to peck at. One knows what he proposes to do after 
he has done it. The red man is conspicuously among the J 
things that are not always what they seem. 

Pursuit was immediately set on foot, and the entire 
body of truant warriors were brought back without blood- 
shed. One of them, a young warrior, came to Will's 
tent to beg for tobacco. The Indian — as all know who 
have made his acquaintance — has no difficulty in reconciling 
begging with his native dignity. To work may be beneath .\ 
him, to beg is a different matter, and there is frequently a ; 
delightful hauteur about his mendicancy. In this respect 1 
he is not unlike some of his white brothers. W^ill gave,/ 
the young chief the desired tobacco, and then questioned !i 
him closely concerning the attempted escape. ; . 

"Surely," said he, ''you cannot find a more beautifuUi 
spot than this. The streams are full of fish, the grazing is' j 
good, the game is plentiful, and the weather is fine. What|;j 
more could you desire?" i-' 

The Indian drew himself up. His face grew eager, and 
his eyes were full of longing as he answered, by the inter- 

''The land to the north and west is the land of plenty. 
There the buffalo grows larger, and his coat is darker. There 
the bu-yu (antelope) comes in droves, while here there are 
but few. There the whole region is covered with the short,j 
curly grass our ponies like. There grow the wild plum* 



that are good for my people in summer and winter. There 
j are the springs of the Great Medicine Man, Tcl-ya-ki-y. 
1 To bathe in them gives new life ; to drink them cures every 
\ bodily ill. 

' ''In the mountains beyond the river of the blue water 
! there is Q:o\d and silver, the metals that the white man 
' loves. There lives the eagle, whose feathers the Indian 
* must have to make his war-bonnet. There, too, the sun 
shines always. 

''It is the Ijis (heaven) of the red man. My heart cries 
for it. The hearts of my people are not happy when away 
from the Eithity Tugala." 

The Indian folded his arms across his breast, and his 

j eyes looked yearningly toward the country whose delights 

! he had so vividly pictured ; then he turned and walked sor- 
rowfully away. The white man's government shut him 
out from the possession of his earthly paradise. Will 

' learned upon further inquiry that Eithity Tugala was the 
Indian name of the Big Horn Basin. 

In the summer of 1882 Will's party of exploration left 

i the cars at Cheyenne, and struck out from this point with 
horses and pack-mules. Will's eyes becoming inflamed, 
he was obliged to bandage them, and turn the guidance of 

' the party over to a man known as "Reddy." For days 

! he traveled in a blinded state, and though his eyes slowly 

' bettered, he did not remove the bandage until the Big 
Horn Basin was reached. They had paused for the mid- 

I day siesta, and Reddy inquired whether it would not be 
safe to uncover the afflicted eyes, adding that he thought 

j Will "would enjoy looking around a bit." 

I Off came the bandage, and I shall quote Will's own 
words to describe the scene that met his delighted gaze: 
"To my right stretched a towering range of snow-capped 



mountains, broken here and there into minarets, obelisks, : 
and spires. Between me and this range of lofty peaks a j 
long irregular line of stately cottonwoods told me a stream I 
wound its way beneath. The rainbow-tinted carpet under | 
me was formed of innumerable brilliant-hued wild flowers; I 
it spread about me in every direction, and sloped gracefully | 
to the stream. Game of every kind played on the turf, ! 
and bright-hued birds flitted over it. It was a scene no 
mortal can satisfactorily describe. At such a moment a 
man, no matter what his creed, sees the hand of the mighty , 
Maker of the universe majestically displayed in the beauty 
of nature; he becomes sensibly conscious, too, of his own! 
littleness. I uttered no word for very awe; I looked upon 
one of nature's masterpieces. ; 

''Instantly my heart went out to my sorrowful Arapahoe 
friend of 1875. He had not exaggerated; he had scarcely 
done the scene justice. He spoke of it as the Ijis, the 
heaven of the red man. I regarded it then, and still regarc 
it, as the Mecca of all appreciative humanity." 

To the west of the Big Horn Basin, Hart Mountaii 
rises abruptly from the Shoshone River. It is coverec 
with grassy slopes and deep ravines ; perpendicular rocks o 
every hue rise m various places and are fringed with ever^ 
greens. Beyond this mountain, in the distance, toweq 
the hoary head of Table Mountain. Five miles to the 
southwest the mountains recede some distance from the 
river, and from its bank Castle Rock rises in solitary gran- 
deur. As its name indicates, it has the appearance of a 
castle, with towers, turrets, bastions, and balconies. 

Grand as is the western view, the chief beauty lies in 
the south. Here the Carter Mountain lies along the entire] 
distance, and the grassy spaces on its side furnish pastur-| 
age for the deer, antelope, and mountain sheep that abounca 



in this favored region. Fine timber, too, grows on its 
i-ugged slopes; jagged, picturesque rock-forms are seen in 
111! directions, and numerous cold springs send up their wel- 
zome nectar. 

\ It is among the foothills nestling at the base of this 
mountain that Will has chosen the Site of his future per- 
manent residence. Here there are many little lakes, two 
:Df which are named Irma and Arta, in honor of his 
daughters. Here he owns a ranch of forty thousand acres, 
Dut the home proper will comprise a tract of four hundred 
,ind eighty acres. The two lakes referred to are in this 
tract, and near them Will proposes to erect a palatial resi- 
dence. To him, as he has said, it is the Mecca of earth, 
imd thither he hastens the moment he is free from duty and 
Dbhgation. In that enchanted region he forgets for a little 
ieason the cares and responsibilities of life. 

A curious legend is told of one of the lakes that lie on 
:he border of this valley. It is small — half a mile long and 
1 quarter wide — but its depth is fathomless. It is bordered 
md shadowed by tall and stately pines, quaking-asp and 
3irch trees, and its waters are pure and ice-cold the year 
•ound. They are medicinal, too, and as yet almost 
anknown to white men. Will heard the legend of the lake 
:rom the lips of an old Cheyenne warrior. 

"It was the custom of my tribe," said the Indian, *'to 
jissemble around this lake once every month, at the hour 
of midnight, when the ipoon is at its full. Soon after mid- 
■light a canoe filled with the specters of departed Cheyenne 
warriors shot out from the eastern side of the lake and 
:rossed rapidly to the western border; there it suddenly 

"Never a word or sound escaped from the specters in 
:he canoe. They sat rigid and silent, and swiftly plied 


their oars. All attempts to get a word from them were in 

''So plainly were the canoe and its occupants seen that 
the features of the warriors were readily distinguished, and 
relatives and friends were recognized." 

For )^ears, according to the legend, the regular monthly 
trip was made, and always from the eastern to the western 
border of the lake. In 1876 it suddenly ceased, and thA 
Indians were much alarmed. A party of them camped oil 
the bank of the lake, and watchers were appointed ((m 
every night. It was fancied that the ghostly boatmen hafl 
changed the date of their excursion. But in three month! 
there was no sign of canoe or canoeists, and this waf 
regarded as an omen of evil. 

At a council of the medicine men, chiefs, and wiseacrei 
of the tribe it was decided that the canoeing trip had beei 
a signal from the Great Spirit — the canoe had proceedec 
from east to west, the course always followed by the re^ 
man. The specters had been sent from the Happy Hunt 
ing-Grounds to indicate that the tribe should move farthej 
west, and the sudden disappearance of the monthly signa 
was augured to mean the extinction, of the race. 

Once when Will was standing on the border of thii 
lake a Sioux warrior came up to him. This man wa: 
unusually intelligent, and desired that his children shoulc 
be educated. He sent his two sons to Carlisle, and him 
self took great pains to learn the white man's religiou 
beliefs, though he still clung to his old savage customs ani 
superstitions. A short time before he talked with Wil 
large companies of Indians had made pilgrimages to joii 
one large conclave, for the purpose of celebrating the Mes 
siah, or ''Ghost Dance." Like all religious celebration 
among savage people, it was accompanied by the grosses 



excesses and most revolting immoralities. As it was not 
known what serious happening these large gatherings might 
portend, the President, at the request of many people, sent 
troops to disperse the Indians. The Indians resisted, and 
blood was spilled, among the slain being the sons of the 
Indian who stood by the side of the haunted lake. 

''It is written in the Great Book of the white man," 
said the old chief to Will, ''that the Great Spirit — the 
Nan-tan-in-chor — is to come to him again on earth. The 
white men in the big villages go to their council-lodges 
(churches) and talk about the time of his coming. Some 
say one time, some say another, but they all know the time 
will come, for it is written in the Great Book. It is the 
great and good among the white men that go to these 
council-lodges, and those that do not go say, 'It is well; 
we believe as they believe; He will come.* It is written 
jin the Great Book of the white man that all the human 
'beings on earth are the children of the one Great Spirit. 
He provides and cares for them. All he asks in return is 
"that his children obey him, that they be good to one 
another, that they judge not one another, and that they 
do not .kill or steal. Have I spoken truly the words of the 
white man's Book?" 

Will bowed his head, somewhat surprised at the tone of 
ithe old chief's conversation. The other continued: 

"The red man, too, has a Great Book. You have never 
seen it; no white man has ever seen it; it is hidden here." 
He pressed his hand against his heart. "The teachings of 
the two books are the same. What the Great Spirit says 
to the white man, the Nan-tan-in-chor says to the red 
man. We, too, go to our council-lodges to talk of the 
second coming. We have our ceremony, as the white 
man has his. The white man is solemn, sorrowful; the 



red man is happy and glad. We dance and are joyful, and 
the white man sends soldiers to shoot us down. Does 
their Great Spirit tell them to do this? 

"In the big city (Washington) where I have been, there 
is another big book (the Federal Constitution), which says 
the white man shall not interfere with the religious liberty 
of another. And yet they come out to our country and 
kill us when we show our joy to Nan-tan-in-chor. 

'*We rejoice over his second coming; the white man 
mourns, but he sends his soldiers to kill us in our rejoicing. 
Bah! The white man is false. I return to my people, and 
to the customs and habits of my forefathers. I am an 
Indian !" 

The old chief strode away with the dignity of a red 
Caesar, and Will, alone by the lake, reflected that every 
question has two sides to it. The one the red man has 
held in the case of the commonwealth versus the Indian has 
ever been the tragic side. 



It was not until the spring of 1883 that Will was able to 
put into execution his long-cherished plan — to present to 
the public an exhibition which should delineate in throb- 
bing and realistic color, not only the wild life of America, 
but the actual history of the West, as it was lived for, 
fought for, died for, by Indians, pioneers, and soldiers. 

The wigwam village; the Indian war-dance; the chant 
to the Great Spirit as it was sung over the plains ; the rise 
I and fall of the famous tribes; the Forward, march!" of 
i soldiers, and the building of frontier posts; the life of 
■ scouts and trappers; the hunt of the buffalo; the coming 
of the first settlers; their slow, perilous progress in the 
j prairie schooners over the vast and desolate plains; the 
' period of the Deadwood stage and the Pony Express; 

the making of homes in the face of fire and Indian massa- 
[ ere; United States cavalry on the firing-line, Death to 
the Sioux!'* — these are the great historic pictures of the 
Wild West, stirring, genuine, heroic. 

It was a magnificent plan on a magnificent scale, and it 
j achieved instant success. The adventurous phases of 
Western life never fail to quicken the pulse of the East. 

An exhibition which embodied so much of the historic 
and picturesque, which resurrected a whole half-century of 
dead and dying events, events the most thrilling and dra- 
matic in American history, naturally stirred up the interest 




of the entire country. The actors, too, were historic char- 
acters — no weakling imitators, but men of sand and grit, 
who had lived every inch of the life they pictured. . 

The first presentation was given in May, 1883, a£ 
Omaha, Nebraska, the state Will had chosen for his homej 
Since then it has visited nearly every Targe city on the civh 
lized globe, and has been viewed by countless thousands- 
men, women, and children of every nationality. It wil 
long hold a place in history. i 

The ''grand entrance" alone has never failed to chain 
the interest of the onlooker. The furious galloping of th< 
Indian braves — Sioux, Arapahoe, Brule, and Cheyenne 
all in war paint and feathers; the free dash of the Mexican! 
and cowboys, as they follow the Indians into line at break 
neck speed; the black-bearded Cossacks of the Czar's ligh? 
cavalry; the Rififian Arabs on their desert thoroughbreda^ 
a cohort from the "Queen's Own" Lancers; troopen 
from the German Emperor's bodyguard; chasseurs an(l 
cuirassiers from the crack cavalry regiments of Europearj| 
standing armies; detachments from the United States^ 
cavalry and artillery; South American gauchos; Cubaii 
veterans; Porto Ricans; Hawaiians; again frontiersmen,! 
rough riders, Texas rangers — all plunging with dash anc 
spirit into the open, each company followed by its chief 
tain and its flag; forming into a solid square, tremulous 
with color; then a quicker note to the music; the gallop' 
ing hoofs of another horse, the finest of them all, anc 
Buffalo Bill," riding with the wonderful ease and statelj 
grace which only he who is "born to the saddle" can evei 
attain, enters under the flash of the lime-light, and sweep- 
ing off his sombrero, holds his head high, and with a ring 
of pride in his voice, advances before his great audiencd 
and exclaims: < 



'^Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to introduce to you 
a congress of the rough riders of the world." 

As a child I wept over his disregard of the larger sphere 
predicted by the soothsayer; as a woman, I rejoice that he 
was true to his own ideals, for he sits his horse with a 
natural grace much better suited to the saddle than to the 
Presidential chair. 

From the very beginning the ''Wild West" was an 
immense success. Three years were spent in traveling 
over the United States; then Will conceived the idea of 
visiting England, and exhibiting to the mother race the 
wild side of the child's life. This plan entailed enormous 
expense, but it was carried out successfully. 

Still true to the state of his adoption, Will chartered 
the steamer State of Nebraska," and on March 31, 1886 
a living freight from the picturesque New World began its 
voyage to the Old. 

At Gravesend, England, the first sight to meet the 
eyes of the watchers on the steamer was a tug flying Amer- 
ican colors. Three ringing cheers saluted the beautiful 
emblem, and the band on the tug responded with ''The 
Star-Spangled Banner." Not to be outdone, the cowboy 
band on the "State of Nebraska" struck up "Yankee 
Doodle." The tug had been chartered by a company of 
Englishmen for the purpose of welcoming the novel Amer- 
ican combination to British soil. 

When the landing was made, the members of the Wild 
West company entered special coaches and were whirled 
toward London. Then even the stolidity of the Indians 
was not proof against sights so little resembling those to 
which they had been accustomed, and they showed their 
pleasure and appreciation by frequent repetition of the red 
man's characteristic grunt. 


Major John M. Burke had made the needed arrange- 
ments for housing the big show, and preparations on a 
gigantic scale were rapidly pushed to please an impatient 
London public. More effort was made to produce spec- 
tacular effects in the London amphitheater than is possible 
where a merely temporary staging is erected for one day's \ 
exhibition. The arena was a third of a mile in circumfer- 
ence, and provided accommodation for forty thousand 
spectators. Here, as at Manchester, where another great 
amphitheater was erected in the fall, to serve as winter 
quarters, the artist's brush was called on to furnish illuJ 
sions. M 

The English exhibited an eager interest in every featurlj 
of the exhibition — the Indian war-dances, the buckingj 
broncho, speedily subjected by the valorous cowboy, an(H 
the stagecoach attacked by Indians and rescued by Unitecfl 
States troops. The Indian village on the plains was alsal 
an object of dramatic interest to the English public. Thek 
artist had counterfeited the plains successfully. I 

It is the hour of dawn. Scattered about the plain^ 
are various wild animals. Within their tents the Indiansl 
are sleeping. Sunrise, and a friendly Indian tribe comes"^ 
to visit the wakening warriors. A friendly dance is exe-v 
cuted, at the close of which a courier rushes in to announce ^ 
the approach of a hostile tribe. These follow almost at; 
the courier's heels, and a sham battle occurs, which affords ; 
a good idea of the barbarity of Indian warfare. The victors^ 
celebrate their triumph with a wild war-dance. i 

A Puritan scene follows. The landing of the Pilgrims"^ 
is shown, and the rescue of John Smith by Pocahontas. ^ 
This affords opportunity for delineating many interesting ; 
Indian customs on festive celebrations, such as weddings i 
and feast-days. i 



Again the prairie. A buffalo-lick is shown. The 
shaggy monsters come down to drink, and in pursuit of 
them is "Buffalo Bill," mounted on his good horse 
"Charlie." He has been acting as guide for an emigrant 
party, which soon appears. Camp-fires are lighted, supper 
is eaten, and the camp sinks into slumber with the dwin- 
dling of the fires. Then comes a fine bit of stage illusion. 
A red glow is seen in the distance, faint at first, but slowly 
deepening and broadening. It creeps along the whole 
horizon, and the camp is awakened by the alarming intelli- 
gence that the prairie is on fire. The emigrants rush out, 
and heroically seek to fight back the rushing, roaring 
flames. Wild animals, driven by the flames, dash through 
the camp, and a stampede follows. This scene was 
extremely realistic. 

A cyclone was also simulated, and a whole village 
blown out of existence. 

The "Wild West" was received with enthusiasm, not 
only by the general public, but by royalty. Gladstone 
made a call upon Will, in company with the Marquis of 
Lome, and in return a lunch was tendered to the "Grand 
Old Man" by the American visitors. In an after-dinner 
speech, the English statesman spoke in the warmest terms 
of America. He thanked Will for the good he was doing 
in presenting to the English public a picture of the wild life 
of the Western continent, which served to illustrate the 
difficulties encountered by a sister nation in its onward 
march of civilization. 

The initial performance was before a royal party com- 
prising the Prince and Princess of Wales and suite. At 
the close of the exhibition the royal guests, at their own 
request, were presented to the members of the company. 
Unprepared for this contingency. Will had forgotten to 



coach the performers in the correct method of saluting 
royalty, and when the girl shots of the company were 
presented to the Princess of Wales, they stepped forward 
in true democratic fashion and cordially offered their hands 
to the lovely woman who had honored them. 

According to English usage, the Princess extends the 
hand, palm down, to favored guests, and these reverently 
touch the finger-tips and lift the hand to their lips. Per- 
haps the spontaneity of the American girls' welcome was] 
esteemed a pleasing variety to the established custom. At 
all events, her Highness, true to her breeding, appeared 
not to notice any breach of etiquette, but took the prof- 
fered hands and shook them cordially. 

The Indian camp was also visited, and Red Shirt, the 
great chief, was, like every one else, delighted with the 
Princess. Through an interpreter the Prince expressed 
his pleasure over the performance of the braves, headed by 
their great chief, and the Princess bade him welcome tol 
England. Red Shirt had the Indian gift of oratory, and! 
he replied, in the unimpassioned speech for which the racJ 
is noted, that it made his heart glad to hear such kinrf 
words from the Great White Chief and his beautiful! 
squaw. 1 

During the round the Prince stopped in at Will's private^ 
quarters, and took much interest in his souvenirs, being* 
especially pleased with a magnificent gold-hilted sword, ^ 
presented to Will by officers of the United States army in.*^ 
recognition of his services as scout. ij 

This was not the only time the exhibition was honored ) 
by the visit of royalty. That the Prince of Wales was sin--J 
cere in his expression of enjoyment of the exhibition wasj 
evidenced by the report that he carried to his mother, and 5 
shortly afterward a command came from Queen Victoria! 


that the big show appear before her. It was plainly 
impossible to take the **Wild West" to court; the next 
best thing was to construct a special box for the use of her 
Majesty. This box was placed upon a dais covered with 
crimson velvet trimmings, and was superbly decorated. 
When the Queen arrived and was driven around to the 
royal box, Will stepped forward as she dismounted, and 
dofifing his sombrero, made a low courtesy to the sovereign 
lady of Great Britain. "Welcome, your Majesty," said 
he, 'Ho the Wild West of America!" 

One of the first acts in the performance is to carry the 
flag to the front. This is done by a soldier, and is intro- 
duced to the spectators as an emblem of a nation desirous 
of peace and friendship with all the world. On this occa- 
sion it was borne directly before the Queen's box, and 
dipped three times in honor of her Majesty. The action 
of the Queen surprised the company and the vast throng 
of spectators. Rising, she saluted the American flag with 
a bow, and her suite followed her example, the gentlemen 
removing their hats. Will acknowledged the courtesy by 
waving his sombrero about his head, and his delighted 
company with one accord gave three ringing cheers that 
made the arena echo, assuring the spectators of the healthy 
condition of the lungs of the American visitors. 

The Queen's complaisance put the entire company on 
their mettle, and the performance was given magnificently. 
At the close Queen Victoria asked to have Will presented 
to her, and paid him so many compliments as almost to 
bring a blush to his bronzed cheek. Red Shirt was also 
presented, and informed her Majesty that he had come 
across the Great Water solely to see her, and his heart was 
glad. This polite speech discovered a streak in Indian 
nature that, properly cultivated, would fit the red man to 


shine as a courtier or politician. Red Shirt walked away t 
with the insouciance of a king dismissing an audience, and 
some of the squaws came to display papooses to the Great 
White Lady. These children of nature were not the least 
awed by the honor done them. They blinked at her^ 
Majesty as if the presence of queens was an incident ofTj 
their everyday existence. ^ 

A second command from the Queen resulted in another ' 
exhibition before a number of her royal guests. The kings i 
of Saxony, Denmark, and Greece, the Queen of the Bel- 1 
gians, and the Crown Prince of Austria, with others of J 
lesser rank, illumined this occasion. « 

The Deadwood coach was peculiarly honored. This is^ 
a coach with a history. It was built in Concord, New I 
Hampshire, and sent to the Pacific Coast to run over a | 
trail infested by road agents. A number of times was it ^ 
held up and the passengers robbed, and finally both driver 
and passengers were killed and the coach abandoned on the ^ 
trail, as no one could be found who would undertake to ;^ 
drive it. It remained derelict for a long time, but was at 
last brought into San Francisco by an old stage-driver and ^ 
placed on the Overland trail. It gradually worked its way'J? 
eastward to the Deadwood route, and on this line figured ^ 
in a number of encounters with Indians. Again were driver ^ 
and passengers massacred, and again was the coach aban- .] 
doned. Will ran across it on one of his scouting expedi- J 
tions, and recognizing its value as an adjunct to his exhibi- j 
tion, purchased it. Thereafter the tragedies it figured in 'i 
were of the mock variety. "! 

One of the incidents of the Wild West, as all re- ; 
member, is an Indian attack on the Deadwood coach. | 
The royal visitors wished to put themselves in the place 
of the traveling public in the Western regions of America; 1 




so the four potentates of Denmark, Saxony, Greece, and i 

Austria became the passengers, and the Prince of Wales ^ 

sat on the box with Will. The Indians had been secretly ; 

instructed to "whoop 'em up" on this interesting occasion, < 

and they followed energetically the letter of their instruc- j 

tions, The coach was surrounded by a demoniac band, ^ 
and the blank cartridges were discharged in such close 
proximity to the coach windows that the passengers could 

easily imagine themselves to be actual Western travelers. ^ 

Rumor hath it that they sought refuge under the seats, j 

and probably no one would blame them if they did ; but it \ 

is only rumor, and not history. \ 

When the wild ride was over, the Prince of Wales, who \ 

admires the American national game of poker, turned to \ 

the driver with the remark : ; 

* ' Colonel, did you ever hold four kings like that before ?' ' \ 

''I have held four kings more than once," was the \ 

prompt reply; "but, your Highness, I never held four '\ 

kings and the royal joker before." \ 

The Prince laughed heartily; but Will's sympathy went ; 

out to him when he found that he was obliged to explain | 

his joke in four different languages to the passengers. \ 

In recognition of this performance, the Prince of Wales ] 

sent Will a handsome souvenir. It consisted of his feath- : 

ered crest, outlined in diamonds, and bearing the motto • 

^^Ich dien" worked in jewels underneath. An accom- J 

panying note expressed the pleasure of the royal visitors \ 
over the novel exhibition. 

Upon another occasion the Princess of Wales visited ■ 

the show incognito, first advising Will of her intention ; \ 

and at the close of the performance assured him that she ^ 

had spent a delightful evening. \ 

The set performances of the "Wild West" were punc- | 



tuated by social entertainments. James G. Blaine, 
Chauncey M. Depew, Murat Halstead, and other promi- ^ 
nent Americans were in London at the time, and in their| 
honor Will issued invitations to a rib-roast breakfast pre^j 
pared in Indian style. Fully one hundred guests gathere 
in the "Wild West's" dining-tent at nine o'clock of June 
10, 1887. Besides the novel decorations of the tent, it 
was interesting to watch the Indian cooks putting th 
finishing touches to their roasts. A hole had been dug in 
the ground, a large tripod erected over it, and upon this 
the ribs of beef were suspended. The fire was of logs, S 
burned down to a bed of glowing coals, and over these the | 
meat was turned around and around until it was cooked to * 
a nicety. This method of open-air cooking over woodj 
imparts to the meat a flavor that can be given to it in noS 
other way. '| 

The breakfast was unconventional. Part of the bill of 
fare was hominy, ''Wild West" pudding, popcorn, andj^ 
peanuts. The Indians squatted on the straw at the end,< 
of the dining-tables, and ate from their fingers or speared| 
the meat with long white sticks. The striking contrast of ^^ 
table manners was an interesting object-lesson in the prog- ,^ 
ress of civilization. 4 

The breakfast was a novelty to the Americans who par- i 
took of it, and they enjoyed it thoroughly. 5 

Will was made a social lion during his stay in London, -J 
being dined and feted upon various occasions. Only a ' 
man of the most rugged health could have endured the j 
strain of his daily performances united with his social obli- J 

The London season was triumphantly closed with a \ 
meeting for the establishing of a court of arbitration to ^ 
settle disputes between America and England. 


After leaving the English metropolis the exhibition vis- 
ited Birmingham, and thence proceeded to its winter head- 
quarters in Manchester. Arta, Will's elder daughter, 
accompanied him to England, and made a Continental 
tour during the winter. 

The sojourn in Manchester was another ovation. The 
prominent men of the city proposed to present to Will a 
fine rifle, and when the news of the plan was carried to 
London, a company of noblemen, statesmen, and journal- 
ists ran down to Manchester by special car. In acknowl- 
edgment of the honor done him, Will issued invitations 
for another of his unique American entertainments. Bos- 
ton pork and beans, Maryland fried chicken, hominy, and 
popcorn were served, and there were other distinctly 
American dishes. An Indian rib-roast was served on tin 
plates, and the distinguished guests enjoyed — or said they 
did — the novelty of eating it from their fingers, in true 
aboriginal fashion. This remarkable meal evoked the 
heartiest of toasts to the American flag, and a poem, a 
parody on Hiawatha," added luster to the occasion. 

The Prince of Wales' was Grand Master of the Free 
Masons of England, which order presented a gold watch to 
Will during his stay in Manchester. The last performance 
in this city was given on May i, 1887, and as a good by to 
Will the spectators united in a rousing chorus of ''For he's 
a jolly good fellow!" The closing exhibition of the Eng- 
lish season occurred at Hull, and immediately afterward 
the company sailed for home on the ''Persian Monarch.*' 
An immense crowd gathered on the quay, and shouted a 
cordial "bon voyage." 

One sad event occurred on the homeward voyage, the 
death of "Old Charlie," Will's gallant and faithful horse. 
He was a half-blood Kentucky horse, and had been Will's 


constant and unfailing companion for many years on the 
plains and in the "Wild West." 

He was an animal of almost human intelligence, extraor- 
dinary speed, endurance, and fidelity. When he was quite 
young Will rode him on a hunt for wild horses, which 
he ran down after a chase of fifteen miles. At another 
time, on a wager of five hundred dollars that he could ride ^ 
him over the prairie one hundred rriiles in ten hours, he ^ 
went the distance in nine hours and forty-five minutes. -| 

When the "Wild West" was opened at Omaha, Charlie ^ 
was the star horse, and held that position at all the exhibi- 1 
tions in this country and in Europe. In London the | 
horse attracted a full share of attention, and many scions 
of royalty solicited the favor of riding him. Grand Duke 
Michael of Russia rode Charlie several times in chase of the 
herd of buffaloes in the "Wild West," and became quite j 
attached to him. 1 

On the morning of the 14th Will made his usual visit • 
to Charlie, between decks. Shortly after the groom i 
reported him sick. He grew rapidly worse, in spite of all j 
the care he received, and at two o'clock on the morning of \ 
the 17th he died. His death cast an air of sadness over \ 
the whole ship, and no human being could have had more 
sincere mourners than the faithful and sagacious old horse, j 
He was brought on deck wrapped in canvas and covered '\ 
with the American flag. When the hour for the ocean .1 
burial arrived, the members of the company and others^ 
assembled on deck. Standing alone with uncovered head 
beside the dead was the one whose life the noble animal ; 
had shared so long. At length, with choking utterance, I 
Will spoke, and Charlie for the first time failed to hear the > 
familiar voice he had always been so prompt to obey: j 

"Old fellow, your journeys are over. Here in the ocean ^ 



you must rest. Would that I could take you back and lay 
you down beneath the billows of that prairie you and I 
have loved so well and roamed so freely; but it cannot be. 
How often at break of day, the glorious sun rising on 
the horizon has found us far from human habitation ! Yet, 
obedient to my call, gladly you bore your burden on, little 
heeding what the day might bring, so that you and I but 
shared its sorrows and pleasures alike. You have never 
failed me. Ah, Charlie, old fellow, I have had many 
friends, but few of whom I could say that. Rest 
entombed in the deep bosom of the ocean! I'll never 
forget you. I loved you as you loved me, my dear old 
Charlie. Men tell me you have no soul ; but if there be a 
heaven, and scouts can enter there, I'll wait at the gate 
for you, old friend." 

On this homeward trip Will made the acquaintance of 
a clergyman returning from a vacation spent in Europe. 
When they neared the American coast this gentleman pre- 
pared a telegram to send to his congregation. It read 
simply: ''2 John i. 12." Chancing to see it, Will's in- 
terest was aroused, and he asked the clergyman to explain 
the significance of the reference, and when this was done 
he said: '*I have a religious sister at home who knows the 
Bible so well that I will wire her that message and she will 
not need to look up the meaning." 

He duplicated to me, as his return greeting, the minis- 
ter's telegram to his congregation, but I did not justify his 
high opinion of my Biblical knowledge. I was obliged to 
search the Scriptures to unravel the enigma. As there may 
be others like me, but who have not the incentive I had to 
look up the reference, I quote from God's word the mes- 
sage I received: Having many things to write unto you, 
I would not write with paper and ink; but I trust to come 
unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. " 



When the "Wild West" returned to America from its first 
venture across seas, the sail up the harbor was described 
by the New York World in the following words: 

"The harbor probably has never witnessed a more picturesque 
scene than that of yesterday, when the 'Persian Monarch' steamed up 
from quarantine. Buffalo Bill stood on the captain's bridge, his tall and 
striking figure clearly outlined, and his long hair waving in the wind; 
the gayly painted and blanketed Indians leaned over the ship's rail; the 
flags of all nations fluttered from the masts and connecting cables. The 
cowboy band played 'Yankee Doodle ' with a vim and enthusiasm which 
faintly indicated the joy felt by everybody connected with the 'Wild 
West* over the sight of home." - 

Will had been cordially welcomed by our English cous- \ 
ins, and had been the recipient of many social favors, but 
no amount of foreign flattery could change him one hair "J 
from an "American of the Americans," and he experienced 'i 
a thrill of delight as he again stepped foot upon his native 1 
land. Shortly afterward he was much pleased by a letter % 
from William T. Sherman — so greatly prized that it was 
framed, and now hangs on the wall of his Nebraska home. J 
Following is a copy : |j 

" Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York. 
"Colonel Wm. F. Cody : M 

''Dear Sir : In common with all your countrymen, I want to letv 
you know that I am not only gratified but proud of your management 
and success. So far as I can make out, you have been modest, graceful, '{ 
and dignified in all you have done to illustrate the history of civilization ^ 

254 J 



on this continent during the past century. I am especially pleased with 
the compliment paid you by the Prince of Wales, who rode with you in 
the Deadwood coach while it was attacked by Indians and rescued by 
cowboys. Such things did occur in our days, but they never will again. 

"As nearly as I can estimate, there were in 1865 about nine and 
one-half million of buffaloes on the plains between the Missouri River 
and the Rocky Mountains; all are now gone, killed for their meat, their 
skins, and their bones. This seems like desecration, cruelty, and mur- 
der, yet they have been replaced by twice as many cattle. At that date 
there were about 165,000 Pawnees, Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes, 
who depended upon these buffaloes for their yearly food. They, too, have 
gone, but they have been replaced by twice or thrice as many white men 
and women, who have made the earth to blossom as the rose, and who 
can be counted, taxed, and governed by the laws of nature and civiliza- 
tion. This change has been salutary, and will go on to the end. You 
have caught one epoch of this country's history, and have illustrated it 
in the very heart of the modern world— London, and I want you to feel 
that on this side of the water we appreciate it. 

" This drama must end; days, years, and centuries follow fast; even 
the drama of civilization must have an end. All I aim to accomplish on 
this sheet of paper is to assure you that I fully recognize your work. 
The presence of the Queen, the beautiful Princess of Wales, the Prince, 
and the British public are marks of favor which reflect back on America 
sparks of light which illuminate many a house and cabin in the land 
where once you guided me honestly and faithfully, in 1865-66, from Fort 
Riley to Kearny, in Kansas and Nebraska. 

Sincerely your friend, 

W. T. Sherman." 

Having demonstrated to his satisfaction that the largest 
measure of success lay in a stationary exhibition of his 
show, where the population was large enough to warrant it, 
Will purchased a tract of land on Staten Island, and here 
he landed on his return from England. Teamsters for 
miles around had been engaged to transport the outfit 
across the island to Erastina, the site chosen for the exhibi- 
tion. And you may be certain that Cut Meat, American 
Bear, Flat Iron, and the other Indians furnished unlimited 
joy to the ubiquitous small boy, who was present by the 
hundreds to watch the unloading scenes. 


The summer season at this point was a great success-. 
One incident connected with it may be worth the relating. 

Teachers everywhere have recognized the value of the 
''Wild West" exhibition as an educator, and in a number of 
instances public schools have been dismissed to afford the 
children an opportunity of attending the entertainment. 
It has not, however, been generally recognized as a spur to 
religious progress, yet, while at Staten Island, Will was. 
invited to exhibit a band of his Indians at a missionary' 
meeting given under the auspices of a large mission Sun-, 
day-school. He appeared with his warriors, who were 
expected to give one of their religious dances as an object-; 
lesson in devotional ceremonials. ^ 

The meeting was largely attended, and every one, chil- 
dren especially, waited for the exercises in excited curiosity^ 
and interest. Will sat on the platform with the superin.- 
tendent, pastor, and others in authority, and close by sat 
the band of stolid-faced Indians. 

The service began with a hymn and the reading of the 
Scriptures; then, to Will's horror, the superintendent^: 
requested him to lead the meeting in prayer. Perhaps the* 
good man fancied that Will for a score of years had fought] 
Indians with a rifle in one hand and a prayer-book in the 
other, and was as prepared to pray as to shoot. At leas^ 
he surely did not make his request with the thought of 
embarrassing Will, though that was the natural result. 
However, Will held holy things in deepest reverence; he 
had the spirit of Gospel if not the letter; so, rising, he 
quietly and simply, with bowed head, repeated the Lord'^ 

A winter exhibition under roof was given in New York, 
after which the show made a tour of the principal cities of 
the United States. Thus passed several years, and then 


i arrangements were made for a grand Continental trip. A 
plan had been maturing in Will's mind ever since the 
British season, and in the spring of 1889 it was carried into 

The steamer ''Persian Monarch" was again chartered, 
and this time its prow was turned toward the shores of 
, France. Paris was the destination, and seven months were 
passed in the gay capital. The Parisians received the show 
with as much enthusiasm as did the Londoners, and in 
Paris as well as in the English metropolis everything 
American became a fad during the stay of the ''Wild 
West." Even American books were read — a crucial test of 
faddism; and American curios were displayed in all the 
shops. Relics from American plain and mountain — buffalo- 
robes, bearskins, buckskin suits embroidered with porcupine 
quills, Indian blankets, woven mats, bows and arrows, 
bead-mats, Mexican bridles and saddles — sold like the pro- 
verbial hot cakes. 

In Paris, also, Will became a social favorite, and had he 
accepted a tenth of the invitations to receptions, dinners, 
and balls showered upon him, he would have been obliged 
to close his show. 

While in this city Will accepted an invitation from Rosa 
Bonheur to visit her at her superb chateau, and in return 
for the honor he extended to her the freedom of his stables, 
which contained magnificent horses used for transportation 
purposes, and which never appeared in the public perform- 
ance — Percherons, of the breed depicted by the famous 
artist in her well-known painting of "The Horse Fair." 
Day upon day she visited the camp and made studies, and 
as a token of her appreciation of the courtesy, painted a 
picture of W^ill mounted on his favorite horse, both horse 
and rider bedecked with frontier paraphernalia. This sou- 


venir, which holds the place of honor in his collection, ijt 
immediately shipped home. iB 
The wife of a London embassy attache relates the fol- 
lowing story : 

"During the time that Colonel Cody was making hii^ 
triumphant tour of Europe, I was one night seated at aj 
banquet next to the Belgian Consul. Early in the course 
of the conversation he asked : ^ 

'Madame, you haf undoubted been to see ze gr-ran( 
Bouf-falo Beel?' 

Puzzled by the apparently unfamiliar name, I asked 
* Pardon me, but whom did you say?' 
*Vy, Bouf-falo Beel, ze famous Bouf-falo Beel, zat 
gr-reat countryman of yours. You must know him.' 

After a moment's thought, I recognized the well--^ 
known showman's name in its disguise. I comprehendedv 
that the good Belgian thought his to be one of America** 
most eminent names, to be mentioned in the same breathj 
with Washington and Lincoln." 

After leaving Paris, a short tour of Southern France was| 
made, and at Marseilles a vessel was chartered to transpo^t^ 
the company to Spain. The Spanish grandees eschewed^: 
their favorite amusement — the bull-fight — long enough to^ 
give a hearty welcome to the ''Wild West." Next fol-j 
lowed a tour of Italy ; and the visit to Rome was the mosj| 
interesting of the experiences in this country. l3 

The Americans reached the Eternal City at the time od 
Pope Leo's anniversary celebration, and, on the Pope's^ 
invitation. Will visited the Vatican. Its historic walls have:; 
rarely, if ever, looked upon a more curious sight than wasT, 
presented when Will walked in, followed by the cowboys? 
in their buckskins and sombreros and the Indians in wai^j 


paint and feathers. Around them crowded a motley 
throng of Italians, clad in the brilliant colors so loved by 
these children of the South, and nearly every nationality 
was represented in the assemblage. 

Some of the cowboys and Indians had been reared in 
the Catholic faith, and when the Pope appeared they knelt 
for his blessing. He seemed touched by this action on the 
part of those whom he might be disposed to regard as sav- 
ages, and bending forward, extended his hands and pro- 
nounced a benediction; then he passed on, and it was with 
the greatest difficulty that the Indians were restrained from 
expressing their emotions in a wild whoop. This, no 
doubt, would have relieved them, but it would, in all prob- 
ability, have stampeded the crowd. 

When the Pope reached Will he looked admiringly upon 
the frontiersman. The world-known scout bent his head 
before the aged "Medicine Man," as the Indians call his 
reverence, the Papal blessing was again bestowed, and the 
procession passed on. The Thanksgiving Mass, with its 
fine choral accompaniment, was given, and the vast con- 
course of people poured out of the building. 

This visit attracted much attention. 

" I'll take my stalwart Indian braves 

Down to the Coliseum, 
And the old Romans from their graves 

Will all arise to see 'em. 
Praetors and censors will return 

And hasten through the Forum ; 
The ghostly Senate will adjourn, 

Because it lacks a quorum. 

"And up the ancient Appian Way 
Will flock the ghostly legions, 
From Gaul unto Calabria, 
And from remoter regions; 



From British bay and wild lagoon, 

And Libyan desert sandy, 
They'll all come marching to the tune 

Of ' Yankee Doodle Dandy.' 

" Prepare triumphal cars for me, 

And purple thrones to sit on, 
For I've done more than Julius C. — 

He could not down the Briton ! 
Caesar and Cicero shall bow. 

And ancient warriors famous, 
Before the myrtle-wreathed brow 

Of Buffalo Williamus. 

" We march, unwhipped, through history — 
No bulwark can detain us — 
And link the age of Grover C. 

And Scipio Africanus. 
I'll take my stalwart Indian braves 

Down to the Coliseum, 
And the old Romans from their graves 
'' Will all arise to see 'em." 

It may be mentioned in passing that Will had visited theJ 
Coliseum with an eye to securing it as an amphitheater fcMH 
the ''Wild West" exhibition, but the historic ruin was toj^f 
dilapidated to be a safe arena for such a purpose, and the 
idea was abandoned. \ 

The sojourn in Rome was enlivened by an incident that 
created much interest among the natives. The Italians 
were somewhat skeptical as to the abilities of the cowboy 
to tame wild horses, believing the bronchos in the show 
were specially trained for their work, and that the horse- 
breaking was a mock exhibition. 

The Prince of Sermonetta declared that he had some^ 
wild horses in his stud which no cowboys in the world could | 
ride. The challenge was promptly taken up by the daringl 
riders of the plains, and the Prince sent for his wild steeds. 1 
That they might not run ^muck and injure the specta-l 



tors, specially prepared booths of great strength were 
f erected. 

I The greatest interest and enthusiasm were manifested by 
I the populace, and the death of two or three members 
of the company was as confidently looked for as was 
the demise of sundry gladiators in the ''brave days of 

But the cowboys laughed at so great a fuss over so 
j small a matter, and when the horses were driven into the 
arena, and the spectators held their breath, the cowboys, 
lassos in hand, awaited the work with the utmost non- 

The wild equines sprang into the air, darted hither and 
thither, and fought hard against their certain fate, but in 
less time than would be required to give the details, the 
cowboys had flung their lassos, caught the. horses, and 
saddled and mounted them. The spirited beasts still 
resisted, and sought in every way to throw their riders, but 
the experienced plainsmen had them under control in a 
very short time ; and as they rode them around the arena, 
the spectators rose and howled with delight. The display 
of horsemanship effectually silenced the skeptics; it cap- 
tured the Roman heart, and the remainder of the stay in 
the city was attended by unusual enthusiasm. 

Beautiful Florence, practical Bologna, and stately 
Milan, with its many-spired cathedral, were next on the 
list for the triumphal march. For the Venetian public the 
exhibition had to be given at Verona, in the historic 
amphitheater built by Diocletian, A. D. 290. This is the 
largest building in the world, and within the walls of this 
representative of Old World civilization the difificulties over 
which New World civilization had triumphed were por- 
trayed. Here met the old and new; hoary antiquity and 



bounding youth kissed each other under the sunny Italia|{ 
skies. / 

The ''Wild West" now moved northward, through the 
Tyrol, to Munich, and from here the Americans digressed 
for an excursion on the ''beautiful blue Danube." Then, 
followed a successful tour of Germany. 

During this Continental circuit Will's elder daughter,. 
Arta, who had accompanied him on his British expedition, 
was married. It was impossible for the father to be pres- 
ent, but by cablegram he sent his congratulations andj 



In view of the success achieved by my brother, it is re- 
markable that he excited so Httle envy. Now for the first 
time in his life he felt the breath of slander on his cheek, 
and it flushed hotly. From an idle remark that the Indi- 
ans in the ''Wild West" exhibition were not properly 
treated, the idle gossip grew to the proportion of malicious 
and insistent slander. The Indians being government wards, 
t such a charge might easily become a serious matter; for, 
like the man who beat his wife, the government believes it 
has the right to maltreat the red man to the top of its bent, 
but that no one else shall be allowed to do so. 

A winter campaign of the ''Wild West" had been con- 
templated, but the project was abandoned and winter 
quarters decided on. In the quaint little village of Benfield 
i was an ancient nunnery and a castle, with good stables. 
Here Will left the company in charge of his partner, Mr. 
Nate Salisbury, and, accompanied by the Indians for 
whose welfare he was responsible, set sail for America, to 
silence his calumniators. 

The testimony of the red men themselves was all that 
was required to refute the notorious untruths. Few had 
placed any belief in the reports, and friendly commenters 
were also active. 

As the sequel proved. Will came home very oppor- 
tunely. The Sioux in Dakota were again on the war-path, 



and his help was needed to subdue the uprising. He di^ 
banded the warriors he had brought back from Europe, ami 
each returned to his own tribe and people, to narratfi 
around the camp-fire the wonders of the life abroad, whik 
Will reported at headquarters to ofTer his services for thi 
war. Two years previously he had been honored by th^i 
commission of Brigadier-General of the Nebraska National 
Guard, which rank and title were given to him by Governpi 
Thayer. |l 

The officer in command of the Indian campaign wSi 
General Nelson A. Miles, who has rendered so man| 
important services to his country, and who, as Commander; 
in-Chief of our army, played so large a part in the receitii 
war with Spain. At the time of the Indian uprising he held 
the rank of Brigadier-General. 

This brilliant and able officer was much pleased wher 
he learned that he would have Will's assistance in conduct- 
ing the campaign, for he knew the value of his good judg- 
ment, cool head, and executive ability, and of his large 
experience in dealing with Indians. 

The ''Wild West," which had served as an educator tc 
the people of Europe in presenting the frontier life olj 
America, had quietly worked as important educational 
influences in the minds of the Indians connected with the 
exhibition. They had seen for themselves the wonders ol 
the world's civilization; they realized how futile were the 
efforts of the children of the plains to stem the resistless; 
tide of progress flowing westward. Potentates hacj 
delighted to do honor to Pa-has-ka, the Long-haired i 
Chief, and in the eyes of the simple savage he was as pow-j 
erful as any of the great ones of earth. To him his wordj 
was law; it seemed worse than folly for their brethren tc\ 
attempt to cope with so mighty a chief, therefore theiii 




iinfluence was all for peace; and the fact that so many tribes 
Idid not join in the uprising may be attributed, in part, to 
their good counsel and advice. 

General Miles was both able and energetic, and man- 
aged the campaign in masterly fashion. There were one 
or two hard-fought battles, in one of which the great Sioux 
warrior, Sitting Bull, the ablest that nation ever produced, 
was slain. This Indian had traveled with Will for a time, 
but could not be weaned from his loyalty to his own tribe 
and a desire to avenge upon the white man the wrongs 
inflicted on his people. 

What promised at the outset to be a long and cruel 
frontier war was speedily quelled. The death of Sitting 
Bull had something to do with the termination of hostil- 
ities. Arrangements for peace were soon perfected, and 
Will attributed the government's success to the energy of 
its officer in command, for whom he has a most enthusiastic 
admiration. He paid this tribute to him recently: 

have been in many campaigns with General Miles, 
and a better general and more gifted warrior I have never 
seen. I served in the Civil War, and in any number of 
Indian wars; I have been under at least a dozen generals, 
with whom I have been thrown in close contact because of 
the nature of the services which I was called upon to render. 
General Miles is the superior of them all. 

''I have known Phil Sheridan, Tecumseh Sherman, 
Hancock, and all of our noted Indian fighters. For cool 
judgment and thorough knowledge of all that pertains to 
military affairs, none of them, in my opinion, can be said 
to excel General Nelson A. Miles. 

**Ah, what a man he is! I know. We have been 
shoulder to shoulder in many a hard march. We have 
been together when men find out what their comrades 



really are. He is a man, every inch of him, and the best 
general I ever served under." | 
After Miles was put in command of the forces, a dinner | 
was given in his honor by John Chamberlin. Will was a 
gu^est and one of the speakers, and took the opportunity! 
to eulogize his old friend. He dwelt at length on the 
respect in which the red men held the general, and in clos- 
ing said : 

''No foreign invader will ever set foot on these shore! 
as long as General Miles is at the head of the army, 
they should — just call on me!" 

The speaker sat down amid laughter and applause. 

While Will was away at the seat of war, his beautifi 
home in North Platte, ''Welcome Wigwam," burned t| 
the ground. The little city is not equipped with much 
a fire department, but a volunteer brigade held the flame 
in check long enough to save almost the entire contents 
the house, among which were many valuable and; 
souvenirs that could never be replaced. 

Will received a telegram announcing that his house wj 
ablaze, and his reply was characteristic: 

"Save Rosa Bonheur's picture, and the house may g 
to blazes." 

When the frontier war was ended and the troops dis 
banded. Will made application for another company c 
Indians to take back to Europe with him. Permission wa 
obtained from the government, and the contingent from th 
friendly tribes was headed by chiefs named Long Wolf, N 
Neck, Yankton Charlie, and Black Heart. In addition t 
these a company was recruited from among the 
held as hostages by General Miles at Fort Sheridan, 
the leaders of these hostile braves were such noted chiefs 
Short Bull, Kicking Bear, Lone Bull, Scatter, and Reveng( 

ition t 
Ian, anS 


[To these the trip to Alsace-Lorraine was a revelation, a 
|fairy-tale nriore wonderful than anything in their legendary 
■jlore. The ocean voyage, with its seasickness, put them in 
an ugly mood, but the sight of the encampment and the cow- 
boys dissipated their sullenness, and they shortly felt at home. 
[The hospitality extended to all the members of the company 
by the inhabitants of the village in which they wintered was 
most cordial, and left them the pleasantest of memories. 

An extended tour of Europe was fittingly closed by a 
brief visit to England. The Britons gave the "Wild 
jWest" as hearty a welcome as if it were native to their 
iheath. A number of the larger cities were visited, Lon- 
idon being reserved for the last. 

Royalty again honored the "Wild West" by its attend- 
ance, the Queen requesting a special performance on the 
grounds of Windsor Castle. The requests of the Queen 
ire equivalent to commands, and the entertainment was 
duly given. As a token of her appreciation the Queen 
jbestowed upon Will a costly and beautiful souvenir. 
I Not the least-esteemed remembrance of this London 
Visit was an illuminated address presented by the English 
Workingman's Convention. In it the American plainsman 
was congratulated upon the honors he had won, the success 
Ihehad achieved, and the educational worth of his great ex- 
hibition. A banquet followed, at which Will presented an 
lautograph photograph to each mem.ber of the association. 

Notwithstanding tender thoughts of home, English soil 
was left regretfully. To the "Wild West" the complacent 
Briton had extended a cordial welcome, and manifested an 


enthusiasm that contrasted strangely with his usual disdain 
for things American. 

A singular coincidence of the homeward voyage was 
the death of Billy, another favorite horse of Will's. 



European army officers of all nationalities regarded mj 
brother with admiring interest. To German, French ^ 
Italian, or British eyes he was a commanding personality I 
and also the representative of a peculiar and interesting j 
phase of New World life. Recalling their interest in hi: j 
scenes from his native land, so unlike anything to be founc? 
in Europe to-day, Will invited a number of these officer j 
to accompany him on an extended hunting-trip througli 
Western America. ^ ■ 

All that could possibly do so accepted the invitation | 
A date was set for them to reach Chicago, and from then| 
arrangements were made for a special train to convey their j 
to Nebraska. | 

When the party gathered, several prominent American} | 
were of the number. By General Miles's order a militarji 
escort attended them from Chicago, and the native soldier} 
remained with them until North Platte was reached. 

Then the party proceeded to "Scout's Rest Ranch,' 
where they were hospitably entertained for a couple of dayj 
before starting out on their long trail. 

At Denver ammunition and supplies were taken or 
board the train. A French chef was also engaged, as Wil! 
feared his distinguished guests might not enjoy camp-fare. 
But a hen in water is no more out of place than a Frencl: 
cook on a "roughing-it" trip. Frontier cooks, who under- 
stand primitive methods, make no attempt at a fashionable 




uisine, and the appetites developed by open-air life are 
:qual to the rudest, most substantial fare. 

Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods, and other 
)laces in Colorado were visited. The foreign visitors had 
leard stories of this wonderland of America, but, like all of 
lature's masterpieces, the rugged beauties of this magnifi- 
ent region defy an adequate description. Only one who 
las seen a sunrise on the Alps can appreciate it. The 
toried Rhine is naught but a story to him who has never 
Doked upon it. Niagara is only a waterfall until seen from 
arious view-points, and its tremendous force and tran- 
cendent beauty are strikingly revealed. The same is true 
if the glorious wildness of our Western scenery ; it must 
le seen to be appreciated. 

The most beautiful thing about the Garden of the Gods 
3 the entrance known as the Gateway. Color here runs 
,iot. The mass of rock in the foreground is white, and 
tands out in sharp contrast to the rich red of the sandstone 
f the portals, which rise on either side to a height of 
hree hundred feet. Through these giant portals, which 
1 the sunlight glow with ruddy fire, is seen mass upon 
lass of gorgeous color, rendered more striking by the 
azzling whiteness of Pike's Peak, which soars upward in 
he distance, a hoary sentinel of the skies. The whole 
icture is limned against the brilliant blue of the Colorado 
ky, and stands out sharp and clear, one vivid block of 
olor distinctly defined against the other. 

The name ''Garden of the Gods" was doubtless applied 
ecause of the peculiar shape of the spires, needles, and 
asilicas of rock that rise in every direction. These have 
een corroded by storms and worn smooth by time, until 
hey present the appearance of half-baked images of clay 
lolded by human hands, instead of sandstone rocks fash- 



ioned by wind and weather. Each grotesque and fantastit 
shape has received a name. One is here introduced to th( 
''Washerwoman," the "Lady of the Garden," th( 
"Siamese Twins," and the "Ute God," and besides thes< 
may be seen the "Wreck," the "Baggage Room," th( 
"Eagle," and the "Mushroom." The predominating 
tone is everywhere red, but black, brown, drab, white, yel 
low, buff, and pink rocks add their quota to make up £ 
harmonious and striking color scheme, to which the gray 
and green of clinging mosses add a final touch of pictur- 
esqueness. j 

At Flagstaff, Arizona, the train was discarded for tH 
saddle and the buckboard. And now Will felt himse 
quite in his element ; it was a never-failing pleasure to hii 
to guide a large party of guests over plain and mountain 
From long experience he knew how to make ample prov: 
sion for their comfort. There were a number of wago| 
filled with supplies, three buckboards, three ambulances 
and a drove of ponies. Those who wished to ride horse 
back could do so ; if they grew tired of a bucking bror 
cho, opportunity for rest awaited them in ambulance 
buckboard. The French chef found his occupation gon 
when it was a question of cooking over a camp-fire: s|| 
he spent his time picking himself up when dislodged hjk 
his broncho. The daintiness of his menu was not a correct 
gauge for the daintiness of his language on these numerou| 
occasions. | 

Through the Grand Canon of the Colorado W^ill led th^ 
party, and the d^vellers of the Old World beheld some o| 
the rugged magnificence of the New. Across rushing rivers^ 
through quiet valleys, and over lofty mountains they pro* 
ceeded, pausing on the borders of peaceful lakes, or look** 
ing over dizzy precipices into yawning chasms. | 



There was no lack of game to furnish variety to their 
table; mountain sheep, mountain lions, wildcats, deer, 
elk, antelope, and even coyotes and porcupines, were shot, 
while the rivers furnished an abundance of fish. 

It seemed likely at one time that there might be a hunt 
of bigger game than any here mentioned, for in crossing 
the country of the Navajos the party was watched and 
followed by mounted Indians. An attack was feared, and 
had the red men opened fire, there would have been a very 
animated defense; but the suspicious Indians were merely 
on the alert to see that no trespass was committed, and 
when the orderly company passed out of their territory the 
warriors disappeared. 

The visitors were much impressed with the vastness and 
the undeveloped resources of our country. They were also 
impressed with the climate, as the thermometer went down 
to forty degrees below zero while they were on Buckskin 
Mountain. Nature seemed to wish to aid Will in the effort 
to exhibit novelties to his foreign guests, for she tried her 
hand at some spectacular effects, and succeeded beyond 
mortal expectation. She treated them to a few blizzards; 
and shut in by the mass of whirling, blinding snowflakes, 
it is possible their thoughts reverted with a homesick long- 
ing to the sunny slopes of France, the placid vales of Ger- 
many, or the foggy mildness of Great Britain. 

On the summit of San Francisco Mountain, the horse 
of Major St. John Mildmay lost its footing, and began to slip 
on the ice toward a precipice which looked down a couple of 
thousand feet. Will saw the danger, brought out his ever- 
ready lasso, and dexterously caught the animal in time to 
save it and its rider — a feat considered remarkable by the 

Accidents happened occasionally, many adventures 


were met with, Indian alarms were given, and narrow wer< 
some of the escapes. On the whole, it was a remarkable 
trail, and was written about under the heading, Thou- 
sand Miles in the Saddle with Buffalo Bill." 

At Salt Lake City the party broke up, each going hdlj 
separate way. All expressed great pleasure in the trip, 
and united in the opinion that Buffalo Bill's reputation asij 
guide and scout was a well-deserved one. 

Will's knowledge of Indian nature stands him in good 
stead when he desires to select the quota of Indians for the 
summer season of the ''Wild West." He sends word ahead 
to the tribe or reservation which he intends to visit. The 
red men have all heard of the wonders of the great show; 
they are more than ready to share in the delights of travel, 
and they gather at the appointed place in great numbers. 

Will stands on a temporary platform in the center of 
the group. He looks around upon the swarthy faces, 
glowing with all the eagerness which the stolid Indian 
nature will permit them to display. It is not always thi 
tallest nor the most comely men who are selected. The 
unerring judgment of the scout, trained in Indian warfare, 
tells him who may be relied upon and who are untrust 
worthy. A face arrests his attention — with a motion o: 
his hand he indicates the brave whom he has selected; 
another wave of the hand and the fate of a second warrior 
is settled. Hardly a word is spoken, and it is only a mat- 
ter of a few moments' time before he is ready to step down 
from his exalted position and walk off with his full contin-, 
gent of warriors following happily in his wake. 

The ''Wild West" had already engaged space just out- 
side the World's Fair grounds for an exhibit in 1893, and 
Will was desirous of introducing some new and striking 
feature. He had succeeded in presenting to the people of 



Europe some new ideas, and, in return, the European trip 
had furnished to him the much-desired novelty. He had 
performed the work of an educator in showing to Old 
World residents the conditions of a new civilization, and 
the idea was now conceived of showing to the world gath- 
ered at the arena in Chicago a representation of the cosmo- 
politan military force. He called it ''A Congress of the 
Rough Riders of the World." It is a combination at once 
ethnological and military. 

To the Indians and cowboys were added Mexicans, 
Cossacks, and South Americans, with regular trained cav- 
alry from Germany, France, England, and the United 
States. This aggregation showed for the first time in 
1893, and was an instantaneous success. Of it Opie Read 
gives a fine description : 

" Morse made the two worlds touch the tips of their fingers together. 
Cody has made the warriors of all nations join hands. 

" In one act we see the Indian, with his origin shrouded in history's 
mysterious fog; the cowboy — nerve-strung product of the New World; 
the American soldier, the dark Mexican, the glittering soldier of Ger- 
many, the dashing cavalryman of France, the impulsive Irish dragoon, 
and that strange, swift spirit from the plains of Russia, the Cossack. 

" Marvelous theatric display, a drama with scarcely a word — 
Europe, Asia, Africa, America in panoramic whirl, and yet as indi- 
vidualized as if they had never left their own country." 

In 1893 the horizon of my brother's interests enlarged. 
In July of that year I was married to Mr. Hugh A. 
Wetmore, editor of the Duluth Press, My steps now 
turned to the North, and the enterprising young city on the 
shore of Lake Superior became my home. During the 
long years of my widowhood my brother always bore toward 
me the attitude of guardian and protector; I could rely 
upon his support in any venture I deemed a promising one, 
and his considerate thoughtfulness did not fail when I 


remarried. He wished to see me well established in my 
new home; he desired to insure my happiness and pros- 
perity, and with this end in view he purchased the Duluth 
Press plant, erected a fine brick building to serve as head-.; 
quarters for the newspaper venture, and we became busi-: 
ness partners in the untried field of press work. 

My brother had not yet seen the Zenith City. So in 
January of 1894 he arranged to make a short visit to 
Duluth. We issued invitations for a general reception, 
and the response was of the genuine Western kind — 
eighteen hundred guests assembling in the new Duluth 
Press Building to bid welcome and do honor to the world- 
famed Buffalo Bill. 

His name is a household word, and there is a growing 
demand for anecdotes concerning him. As he does not 'i 
like to talk about himself, chroniclers have been compelled ' 
to interview his associates, or are left to their own resources* 
Like many of the stories told about Abraham Lincoln, ' 
some of the current yarns about Buffalo Bill are of doubt- 
ful authority. Nevertheless, a collection of those that are' 
authentic would fill a volume. Almost every plainsman 
or soldier who met my brother during the Indian campaigns 
can tell some interesting tale about him that has never 
been printed. During the youthful season of redundant; 
hope and happiness many of his ebullitions of wit were lost, ' 
but he was always beloved for his good humor, which no 
amount of carnage could suppress. He was not averse to 
church-going, though he was liable even in church to be 
carried away by the rollicking spirit that was in him. 
Instance his visit to the little temple which he had helped 
to build at North Platte. \ 

His wife and sister were in the congregation, and this 
ought not only to have kept him awake, but it should have 



insured perfect decorum on his part. The opening hymn 
commenced with the words, "Oh, for a thousand tongues 
to sing," etc. The organist, who played ''by ear," started 
the tune in too high a key to be followed by the choir and 
congregation, and had to try again. A second attempt 
ended, like the first, in failure. *'0h, for a thousand 
tongues to sing, my blest — " came the opening words for 
the third time, followed by a squeak from the organ, and a 
relapse into painful silence. Will could contain himself no 
longer, and blurted out: ''Start it at five hundred, and 
mebbe some of the rest of us can get in." 

Another church episode occurred during the visit of 
the "Wild West" to the Atlanta Exposition. A locally 
celebrated colored preacher had announced that he would 
deliver a sermon on the subject of Abraham Lincoln. A 
party of white people, including my brother, was made up, 
and repaired to the church to listen to the eloquent 
address. Not wishing to make themselves conspicuous, 
the white visitors took a pew in the extreme rear, but one 
of the ushers, wishing to honor them, insisted on conduct- 
ing them to a front seat. When the contribution platter 
came around, our hero scooped a lot of silver dollars from 
his pocket and deposited them upon the plate with such 
force that the receptacle was tilted and its contents poured 
in a jingling shower upon the floor. The preacher left his 
pulpit to assist in gathering up the scattered treasure, 
requesting the congregation to sing a hymn of thanksgiv- 
ing while the task was being performed. At the conclusion 
of the hymn the sable divine returned to the pulpit and 
supplemented his sermon with the following remarks: 

" Brudderen an' sisters: I obsahve dat Co'nel and Gen'l Buflo Bill am 
present. [A roar of "Amens" and "Bless God's" arose from the audience.] 
You will wifhold yuh Amens till I git froo. You all owes yuh freedom to 


Abraham's bosom, but he couldn't hab went an' gone an' done it widout 
Buflo Bill, who he'ped him wid de sinnoose ob wah ! Abraham Lincum 
was de brack man's fren' — Buflo Bill am de fren' ob us all. ["Amen!" 
screamed a sister.] Yes, sistah, he am yo' fren', moreova, an' de fren' 
ob every daughtah ob Jakup likewise. De chu'ch debt am a cross to us, 
an* to dat cross he bends his back as was prefigu'd in de scriptu's ob ol'. 
De sun may move, aw de sun mought stan' still, but Buflo Bill nebba 
Stan's still — he's ma'ching froo Geo'gia wid his Christian cowboys to 
sto'm de Lookout Mountain ob Zion. Deacon Green Henry Turner will J 
lead us in prayah fo' Buflo Bill." m 


The following is one of Will's own stories: During the J 
first years of his career as an actor Will had in one of his'S 
theatrical companies a Westerner named Broncho Bill. | 
There were Indians in the troupe, and a certain missionary i 
had joined the aggregation to look after the morals of the < 
Indians. Thinking that Broncho Bill would bear a little j 
looking after also, the good man secured a seat by his side^ 
at the dinner-table, and remarked pleasantly: <l 
**This is Mr. Broncho Bill, is it not?" | 
^'Yaas." I 
''Where were you born?" j 
''Near Kit Bullard's mill, on Big Pigeon." | 
"Religious parents, I suppose?" 

"Yaas." I 
"What is your denomination?" 
"My what?" 
"Your denomination?" 
"O — ah — yaas. Smith & Wesson." 

While on his European tour Will was entertained by a | 

great many potentates. At a certain dinner given in his | 

honor by a wealthy English lord. Will met for the first 

time socially a number of blustering British officers, fresh | 

from India. One of them addressed himself to the scout 1 





as follows; "I understand you are a colonel. You Amer- 
icans are blawsted fond of military titles, don't cherneow. 
By gad, sir, we'll have to come over and give you fellows 
a good licking!" 

**What, again?" said the scout, so meekly that for an 
instant his assailant did not know how hard he was hit, but 
' he realized it when the retort was wildly applauded by the 

Before closing these pages I will give an account of an 
episode which occurred during the Black Hills gold excite- 
ment, and which illustrates the faculty my hero possesses 
of adapting himself to all emergencies. Mr. Mahan, of 
West Superior, Wisconsin, and a party of adventurous 
gold-seekers were being chased by a band of Indians, which 
they had succeeded in temporarily eluding. They met 
Buffalo Bill at the head of a squad of soldiers who were 
looking for redskins. The situation was explained to the 
scout, whereupon he said : 

*'I am looking for that identical crowd. Now, you draw 
up in line, and I will look you over and pick out the men 
that I want to go back with me." 

Without any questioning he was able to select the men 
who really wanted to return and fight the Indians. He 
left but two behind, but they were the ones who would 
have been of no assistance had they been allowed to go to 
the front. Will rode some distance in advance of his party, 
and when the Indians sighted him, they thought he was 
alone, and made a dash for him. Will whirled about and 
made his horse go as if fleeing for his life. His men had 
been carefully ambushed. The Indians kept up a constant 
firing, and when he reached a certain point Will pretended 
to be hit, and fell from his horse. On came the Indians, 



howling like a choir of maniacs. The next moment the 
were in a trap, and Will and his men opened fire on them 
literally annihilating the entire squad. It was the Indian 
style of warfare, and the ten ''good Indians" left upon 
the field, had they been able to complain, would have had 
no right to do so. 

Will continued the march, and as the day was well 
advanced, began looking for a good place to camp. Arriv 
ing at the top of a ridge overlooking a little river, Will saw 
a spot where he had camped on a previous expedition; but, I 
to his great disappointment, the place was in possession of i 
a large village of hostiles, who were putting up their tepees, | 
building camp fires, and making themselves comfortable for * 
the coming night. < 

Quick as a flash Will decided what to do. ''There are,;: 
too many of them for us to whip in the tired condition of^ 
ourselves and horses," said our hero. Then he posted his . 
men along the top of the ridge, with instructions to show ;■ 
themselves at a signal from him, and descended at once, \ 
solitary and alone, to the encampment of hostiles. Glidingi 
rapidly up to the chief. Will addressed him in his own ■ 
dialect as follows: 

"I want you to leave here right away, quick! I don't ^ 
want to kill your women and children. A big lot of sol- ^ 
diers are following me, and they will destroy your whole 1 
village if you are here when they come." 

As he waved his hand in the direction of the hilltop, ; 
brass buttons and polished gun-barrels began to glitter in 
the rays of the setting sun, and the chief ordered his braves j 
to fold their tents and move on. J 



SiNXE 1893 the "Wild West" exhibitions have been 
restricted to the various cities of our own land. Life in 
"Buffalo Bill's Tented City," as it is called, is like life in 
a small village. There are some six hundred persons in the 
various departments. Many of the men have their families 
with them ; the Indians have their squaws and papooses, 
and the variety of nationalities, dialects, and costumes 
makes the miniature city an interesting and entertaining 

The Indians may be seen eating bundles of meat from 
their fingers and drinking tankards of iced buttermilk. 
The Mexicans, a shade more civilized, shovel with their 
knives great quantities of the same food into the capacious 
receptacles provided by nature. The Americans, despite 
what is said of their rapid eating, take time to laugh and 
crack jokes, and finish their repast with a product only 
known to the highest civilization — ice-cream. 

When the "Wild West" visited Boston, one hot June 
day the parade passed a children's hospital on the way to 
the show-grounds. Many of the little invalids were unable 
to leave their couches. All who could do so ran to the 
open windows and gazed eagerly at the passing procession, 
and the greatest excitement prevailed. These more for- 
tunate little ones described, as best they could, to the little 
sufferers who could not leave their beds the wonderful 
things they saw. The Indians were the special admiration 



of the children. After the procession passed, one wee lad, 
bedridden by spinal trouble, cried bitterly because he had 
not seen it. A kind-hearted nurse endeavored to soothe 
the child, but words proved unavailing. Then a bright 
idea struck the patient woman ; she told him he might | 
write a letter to the great ''Buffalo Bill" himself and ask 1 
him for an Indian's picture. 

The idea was taken up with delight, and the child spent 
an eager hour in penning the letter. It was pathetic in 
its simplicity. The little sufferer told the great exhibitor 
that he was sick in bed, was unable to see the Indians when 
they passed the hospital, and that he longed to see a 
photograph of one. 

The important missive was mailed, and even the impa- 
tient little invalid knew it was useless to expect an answer 
that day. The morning had hardly dawned before a child's 
bright eyes were open. Every noise was listened to, and 
he wondered when the postman would bring him a letter. 
The nurse hardly dared to hope that a busy man like-f 
Buffalo Bill would take time to respond to the wish of a J 
sick child. ^ 
Colonel Cody is a very busy man," she said. ''We i\ 
must be patient." -I 

At perhaps the twentieth repetition of this remark the n 
door opened noiselessly. In came a six-foot Indian, clad | 
in leather trousers and wrapped in a scarlet blanket. He i_ 
wore a head-dress of tall, waving feathers, and carried his i 
bow in his hand. 1 

The little invalids gasped in wonder; then they shrieked 
with delight. One by one, silent and noiseless, but smil- -j 
ing, six splendid warriors followed the first. The visitors i 
had evidently been well trained, and had received explicit r 
directions as to their actions. ^ 



So unusual a sight in the orderly hospital so startled the 
nurse that she could not even speak. The warriors drew 
up in a line and saluted her. The happy children were 
shouting in such glee that the poor woman's fright was 

The Indians ranged themselves in the narrow space 
between the cots, laid aside their gay blankets, placed their 
bows upon the floor, and waving their arms to and fro, 
executed a quiet war-dance. A sham battle was fought, 
followed by a song of victory. After this the blankets were 
again donned, the kindly red men went away, still smiling 
as benignly as their war paint would allow them to do. A 
cheer of gratitude and delight followed them down the 
broad corridors. The happy children talked about Buffalo 
Bill and the ''Wild West" for weeks after this visit. 

North Platte had long urged my brother to bring the 
exhibition there. The citizens wished to see the mam- 
moth tents spread over the ground where the scout once 
followed the trail on the actual war-path ; they desired that 
their famous fellow-citizen should thus honor his home 
town. A performance was finally given there on October 
12, 1896, the special car bearing Will and his party arriv- 
ing the preceding day, Sunday. The writer of these 
chronicles joined the party in Omaha, and we left that city 
after the Saturday night performance. 

The Union Pacific Railroad had offered my brother 
every inducement to make this trip ; among other things, 
the officials promised to make special time in running from 
Omaha to North Platte. 

When we awoke Sunday morning, we found that in 
some way the train had been delayed, that instead of mak- 
ing special time we were several hours late. Will tele- 
graphed this fact to the officials. At the next station 



double-headers were put on, and the gain became at onc( 

perceptible. At Grand Island a congratulatory telegram 

was sent, noting the gain in time. At the next station w< 

passed the Lightning Express, the ''flyer," to which usually 

everything gives way, and the good faith of the compan)^ 

was evidenced by the fact that this train was side-tracked^ 

to make way for Buffalo Bill's ''Wild West" train,| 

Another message was sent over the wires to the officials;! 

it read as follows: M 

" Have just noticed that Lightning Express is side-tracked to makc^J 
way for Wild West. I herewith promote you to top seat in heaven." 

The trip was a continued ovation. Every station was { 
thronged, and Will was obliged to step out on the platform^ 
and make a bow to the assembled crowds, his appearancen 
being invariably greeted with a round of cheers. When! 
we reached the station at North Platte, we found that the! 
entire population had turned out to receive their fellow-| 
townsman. The "Cody Guards,'' a band to which Will;^ 
presented beautiful uniforms of white broadcloth trimmedl 
with gold braid, struck up the strains of "See, the Con-'j 
quering Hero Comes." The mayor attempted to do the ^ 
welcoming honors of the city, but it was impossible for him a 
to make himself heard. Cheer followed cheer from the J 
enthusiastic crowd. ' 

We had expected to reach the place some hours earlier, ^ 
but our late arrival encroached upon the hour of church 
service. The ministers discovered that it was impossible to 
hold their congregations; so they were dismissed, and the ij 
pastors accompanied them to the station, one reverend 'J 
gentleman humorously remarking : 

"We shall be obliged to take for our text this morning t 
'Buffalo Bill and his Wild West,' and will now proceed to^ 
the station for the discourse." ^ 



Will's tally-ho coach, drawn by six horses, was in wait- 
ing for the incoming party. The members of his family 
seated themselves in that conveyance, and we passed 
through the town, preceded and followed by a band. As 
we arrived at the home residence, both bands united in a 
welcoming strain of martial music. 

My oldest sister, Julia, whose husband is manager of 
Scout's Rest Ranch," when informed that the "Wild 
West" was to visit North Platte, conceived the idea of 
making this visit the occasion of a family reunion. We 
had never met in an unbroken circle since the days of our 
first separation, but as a result of her efforts Ave sat thus 
that evening in my brother's home. The next day our 
mother-sister, as she had always been regarded, entertained 
us at " Scout's, Rest Ranch." 

The "Wild West" exhibition had visited Duluth for 
the first time that same year. This city has a population 
of 65,000. North Platte numbers 3,500. When he wrote 
to me of his intention to take the exhibition to Duluth, 
Will offered to make a wager that his own little town would 
furnish a bigger crowd than would the city of my residence. 
I could not accept any such inferred slur upon the Zenith 
City, so accepted the wager, a silk hat against a fur 

October 12th, the date of the North Platte performance, 
dawned bright and cloudless. "To-day decides our 
wager," said Will. "I expect there will be two or three 
dozen- people out on this prairie. Duluth turned out a 
good many thousands, so I suppose you think your wager 
as good as won." 

The manager of the tents evidently thought the outlook 
a forlorn one. I shared his opinion, and was, in fancy, 
already the possessor of a fine fur cloak. 



Colonel, shall we stretch the full canvas?" asked the 

''Every inch of it," was the prompt response.. ''We 
want to show North Platte the capacity of the 'Wild ' 
West,' at any rate." 

As we started for the grounds Will was evidently uncer- 
tain over the outcome, in spite of his previous boast of the . 
reception North Platte would give him. "We'll have a ^ 
big tent and plenty of room to spare in it," he observed. 

But as we drove to the grounds we soon began to see \ 
indications of a coming crowd. The people were pouring ^ 
in from all directions; the very atmosphere seemed popu- Ji 
lated ; as the dust was nearly a foot deep on the roads, the k 
moving populace made the air almost too thick for breath- 1 
ing. It was during the time of the county fair, and man- j 
agers of the Union Pacific road announced that excursion % 
trains would be run from every town and hamlet, the ~t 
ofificials and their families coming up from Omaha on a 
special car. Where the crowds came from it was impossible | 
to say. It looked as if a feat of magic had been per- j 
formed, and that the stones were turned into men, or, per- ' 
chance, that, as in olden tales, they came up out of the earth. ^ 

Accustomed though he is to the success of the show, ^ 
Will was dumfounded by this attendance. As the crowds 
poured in I became alarmed about my wager. I visited | 
the ticket-seller and asked how the matter stood. 

"It's pretty close," he answered. "Duluth seems to 1 
be dwindling away before the mightiness of the Great * 
American Desert." S 

This section of the country, which was a wilderness | 
only a few years ago, assembled over ten thousand people ^ 
to attend a performance of the "Wild West." ; 

Omaha, where the opening performance of this exhibi- ] 


tion was given, honored Will last year by setting apart one 
day as *Xody Day." August 31st was devoted to his 
reception, and a large and enthusiastic crowd gathered to 
do the Nebraska pioneer honor. The parade reached the 
fair-grounds at eleven o'clock, where it was fittingly received 
by one hundred and fifty mounted Indians from the 
encampment. A large square space had been reserved for 
the reception of the party in front of the Sherman gate. 
As it filed through, great applause was sent up by the wait- 
ing multitude, and the noise became deafening when my 
brother made his appearance on a magnificent chestnut 
horse, the gift of General Miles. He was accompanied 
by a large party of officials and Nebraska pioneers, who 
dismounted to seat themselves on the grand-stand. Prom- 
inent among these were the governor of the state. Senator 
Thurston, and Will's old friend and first employer, Mr. 
Alexander Majors. As Will ascended the platform he was 
met by General Manager Clarkson, who welcomed him in 
the name of the president of the exposition, whose official 
duties precluded his presence. Governor Holcomb was 
then introduced, and his speech was a brief review of the 
evolution of Nebraska from a wilderness of a generation 
ago to the great state which produced this marvelous expo- 
sition. Manager Clarkson remarked, as he introduced Mr. 
Majors : ''Here is the father of them all, Alexander Majors, 
a man connected with the very earliest history of Nebraska, 
and the business father of Colonel Cody." 

This old pioneer was accorded a reception only a shade 
less enthusiastic than that which greeted the hero of the 
day. He said: 

" Gentlemen, and My Boy, Colonel Cody : [Laughter.] Can I say a 
few words of welcome? Friend Creighton and I came down here together 
to-day, and he thought I was not equal to the occasion. Gentlemen, I do 



not know whether I am equal to the occasion at this time, but I am going 
to do the best for you that I can. Give me your hand, Colonel. Gentle- 
men, forty-three years ago this day, this fine-looking physical specimen 
of manhood was brought to me by his mother — a little boy nine years 
old — and little did I think at that time that the boy that was standing! 
before me, asking for employment of some kind by which I could afford; 
to pay his mother a little money for his services, was going to be a boy 1! 
of such destiny as he has turned out to be. In this country we have 
great men, we have great men in Washington, we have men who are ^ 
famous as politicians in this country; we have great statesmen, we have 1 
had Jackson and Grant, and we had Lincoln; we have men great in ^ 
agriculture and in stock-growing, and in the manufacturing business men ^£ 
who have made great names for themselves, who have stood high in the S 
nation. Next, and even greater, we have a Cody. He, gentlemen, stands ,^ 
before you now, known the wide world over as the last of the great 
scouts. When the boy Cody came to me, standing straight as an arrow, 
and looked me in the face, I said to my partner, Mr. Russell, who was v 
standing by my side, 'We will take this little boy, and we will pay him a Jjj 
man's wages, because he can ride a pony just as well as a man can.' He 1 
was lighter and could do service of that kind when he was nine years ^1 
old. I remember when we paid him twenty-five dollars for the first 
month's work. He was paid in half-dollars, and he got fifty of them. ^ 
He tied them up in his little handkerchief, and when he got home he ? 
untied the handkerchief and spread the money all over the table." 

Colonel Cody — ''I have been spreading it ever since." I 
A few remarks followed indicative of Mr. Majors' s appre- | 
ciation of the exhibition, and he closed with the remark, 
''Bless your precious heart, Colonel Cody!" and sat down, ^ 
amid great applause. ^ 
Senator Thurston's remarks were equally happy. He ; 


"Colonel Cody, this is your day. ' This is your exposition. This is 1 
your city. And we all rejoice that Nebraska is your state. You have ^ 
carried the fame of our country and of our state all over the civilized [ 
world'; you have been received and honored by princes, by emperors, J 
and by kings; the titled women in the courts of the nations of the world - 
have been captivated by your charm of manner and your splendid man- : 
hood. You are known wherever you go, abroad or in the United States, ^ 
as Colonel Cody, the best representative of the great and progressive 



West. You stand here to-day in the midst of a wonderful assembly. 
Here are representatives of the heroic and daring characters of most of 
the nations of the world. You are entitled to the honor paid you to-day, 
and especially entitled to it here. This people know you as a man who 
has carried this demonstration of yours to foreign lands, and exhibited 
it at home. You have not been a showman in the common sense of the 
word. You have been a great national and international educator of 
men. You have furnished a demonstration of the possibilities of our 
country that has advanced us in the opinion of all the world. But we 
who have been with you a third, or more than a third, of a century, we 
remember you more dearly and tenderly than others do. We remember 
that when this whole Western land was a wilderness, when these repre- 
sentatives of the aborigines were attempting to hold their own against 
the onward tide of civilization, the settler and the hardy pioneer, the 
women and the children, felt safe whenever Cody rode along the frontier; 
he was their protector and defender. 

" Cody, this is your home. You live in the hearts of the people of 
our state. God bless you and keep you and prosper you in your splen- 
did work." 

Will was deeply touched by these strong expressions 
from his friends. As he moved to the front of the plat- 
form to respond, his appearance was the signal for a pro- 
longed burst of cheers. He said: 

"You cannot expect me to make adequate response for the honor 
which you have bestowed upon me to-day. You have overwhelmed my 
speaking faculties. I cannot corral enough ideas to attempt a coherent 
reply in response to the honor which you have accorded me. How little 
I dreamed in the long ago that the lonely path of the scout and the pony- 
express rider would lead me to the place you have assigned me to-day. 
Here, near the banks of the mighty Missouri, which flows unvexed to 
the sea, my thoughts revert to the early days of my manhood. I looked 
eastward across this rushing tide to the Atlantic, and dreamed that in 
that long-settled region all men were rich and all women happy. My 
friends, that day has come and gone. I stand among you a witness 
that nowhere in the broad universe are men richer in manly integrity, 
and women happier in their domestic kingdom, than here in our own 

" I have sought fortune in many lands, but wherever I have wan- 
dered, the flag of our beloved state has been unfurled to every breeze: 
from the Platte to the Danube, from the Tiber to the Clyde, the emblem 



of our sovereign state has always floated over the ' Wild West.' Time! 
goes on and brings with it new duties and responsibilities, but we 'oldjj 
men,' we who are called old-timers, cannot forget the trials and tribula«J 
tions which we had to encounter while paving the path for civilizationl 
and national prosperity. I 

"The whistle of the locomotive has drowned the howl of the coyote;! 
the barb-wire fence has narrowed the range of the cow-puncher; but no« 
material evidence of prosperity can obliterate our contribution to Ne-a 
braska's imperial progress. M 

"Through your kindness to-day I have tasted the sweetest fruit IhaM 
grows on ambition's tree. If you extend your kindness and permit mcll 
to fall back into the ranks as a high private, my cup will be full. • 

" In closing, let me call upon the 'Wild West, the Congress of Rough 
Riders of the World,' to voice their appreciation of the kindness you ' 
have shown them to-day." 

At a given signal the "Wild West" gave three ringing :3 
cheers for Nebraska and the Trans- Mississippi Exposition. J 
The cowboy band followed with the ''Red, White, and^ 
Blue," and an exposition band responded with the ''Star-'J^ 
Spangled Banner." The company fell into line for a*^ 
parade around the grounds, Colonel Cody following on hisT, 
chestnut horse, Duke. After him came the officials and 
invited guests in carriages; then came the Cossacks, the^ 
Cubans, the German cavalry, the United States cavalry, ^ 
the Mexicans, and representatives of twenty-five countries. 

As the parade neared its end, my brother turned to his^ 
friends and suggested that as they had been detained long^ 
past the dinner-hour in doing him honor, he would like to i 
compensate them by giving an informal spread. This '* 
invitation was promptly accepted, and the company^ 
adjourned to a caf^, where a tempting luncheon was spread \ 
before them. Never before had such a party of pioneers * 
met around a banquet-table, and many were the reminis- J 
cences of early days brought out. Mr. Majors, the origi- ^ 
nator of the Pony Express line, was there. The two;- 
Creighton brothers, who put through the first telegraph 1 


line, and took the occupation of the express riders from 
them, had seats of honor. A. D. Jones was introduced as 
the man who carried the first postoffice of Omaha around 
in his hat, and who still wore the hat. Numbers of other 
pioneers were there, and each contributed his share of racy 
anecdotes and pleasant reminiscences. 



The story of frontier days is a tale that is told. The^ 
**Wild West" has vanished like mist in the sun before the-i 
touch of the two great magicians of the nineteenth cen-j 
tury — steam and electricity. M 
The route of the old historic Santa Fe trail is nearly! 
followed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad^J 
which was completed in 1880. The silence of the prairia 
was once broken by the wild war-whoop of the Indian as h« 
struggled to maintain his supremacy over some adjoining^ 
tribe; the muffled roar caused by the heavy hoof-beats of i 
thousands of buffaloes was almost the only other sound 1 
that broke the stillness. To-day the shriek of the engine, I 
the clang of the bell, and the clatter of the car-wheels formy 
a ceaseless accompaniment to the cheerful hum of busy lifef 
which everywhere pervades the wilderness of thirty years/ 
ago. Almost the only memorials of the struggles andj 
privations of the hardy trappers and explorers, whose daring^! 
courage made the achievements of the present possible, are| 
the historic landmarks which bear the names of some of^^ 
these brave men. But these are very few in number. | 
Pike's Peak lifts its snowy head to heaven in silent com- 
memoration of the early traveler whose name it bears. ^ 
Simpson's Rest, a lofty obelisk, commemorates the moun- ^ 
taineer whose life was for the most part passed upon its^ 
rugged slopes, and whose last request was that he should J 

290 ' 



be buried on its summit. Another cloud-capped moun- 
tain-height bears the name of Fisher's Peak, and thereby 
hangs a tale. 

Captain Fisher commanded a battery in the army 
engaged in the conquest of New Mexico. His command 
encamped near the base of the mountain which now bears 
his name. Deceived by the illusive effect of the atmos- 
phere, he started out for a morning stroll to the supposed 
near-by elevation, announcing that he would return in time 
for breakfast. The day passed with no sign of Captain 
Fisher, and night lengthened into a new day. When the 
second day passed without his return, his command was 
forced to believe that he had fallen a prey to lurking In- 
dians, and the soldiers were sadly taking their seats for their 
evening meal when the haggard and wearied captain put in 
an appearance. His morning stroll had occupied two 
days and a night; but he set out to visit the mountain, and 
he did it. 

The transcontinental line which supplanted the Old 
Salt Lake trail, and is now known as the Union Pacific 
Railroad, antedated the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe by 
eleven years. The story of the difficulties encountered, 
and the obstacles overcome in the building of this road, 
furnishes greater marvels than any narrated in the Arabian 
Nights' Tales. 

This railroad superseded the Pony Express line, the 
reeking, panting horses of which used their utmost endeavor 
and carried their tireless riders fifteen miles an hour, cov- 
ering their circuit in eight days' time at their swiftest rate 
of speed. The iron horse gives a sniff of disdain, and 
easily traverses the same distance, from the Missouri line 
to the Pacific Coast, in three days. 

Travelers who step aboard the swiftly moving, luxurious 



cars of to-day give little thought to their predecessors; 
for the dangers the early voyagers encountered they have 
no sympathy. The traveler in the stagecoach was besejb 
by perils without from the Indians and the outlaws; ha 
faced the equally unpleasant companionship of fatigue and' 
discomfort within. The jolting, swinging coach bounced' 
and jounced the unhappy passengers as the reckless driver^ 
lashed the flying horses. Away they galloped over moun 
tains and through ravines, with no cessation of speed 
Even the shipper pays the low rate of transportation aske 
to-day with reluctance, and forgets the great debt he owe 
this adjunct of our civilization. 

But great as are the practical benefits derived from th 
railways, we cannot repress a sigh as we meditate on th 
picturesque phases of the vanished era. Gone are the bull-| 
whackers and the prairie-schooners! Gone are the stage- 1 
coaches and their drivers! Gone are the Pony Expressi 
riders! Gone are the trappers, the hardy pioneers, the| 
explorers, and the scouts! Gone is the prairie monarch, | 
the shaggy, unkempt buffalo! k 

In 1869, only thirty years ago, the train on the Kansas i 
Pacific road was delayed eight hours in consequence of the^ 
passage of an enormous herd of buffaloes over the track iil^^ 
front of it. But the easy mode of travel introduced by the | 
railroad brought hundreds of sportsmen to the plains, whoi^ 
wantonly killed this noble animal solely for sport, and.^ 
thousands of buffaloes were sacrificed for their skins, for ^ 
which there was a widespread demand. From 1868 to| 
1 88 1, in Kansas alone, there was paid out $2,500,000 for^j 
the bones of this animal, which were gathered up on the 1 
prairie and used in the carbon works of the country. This i 
represents a total death-rate of 31,000,000 buffaloes in { 
one state. As far as I am able to ascertain, there remains 


at this writing only one herd, of less than twenty animals, 
out of all the countless thousands that roamed the prairie 
so short a time ago, and this herd is carefully preserved in 
a private park. There may be a few isolated specimens in 
menageries and shows, but this wholesale slaughter has 
resulted in the practical extermination of the species. 

As with the animal native to our prairies, so has it been 
with the race native to our land. We may deplore the 
wrongs of the Indian, and sympathize with his efforts to 
wrest justice from his so-called protectors. We may admire 
his poetic nature, as evidenced in the myths and legends 
of the race. We may be impressed by the stately dignity 
and innate ability as orator and statesman which he dis- 
plays. We may preserve the different articles of his pic- 
turesque garb as relics. But the old, old drama of history 
is repeating itself before the eyes of this generation ; the 
inferior must give way to the superior civilization. The 
poetic, picturesque, primitive red man must inevitably 
succumb before the all-conquering tread of his pitiless, 
practical, progressive white brother. 

Cooper has immortalized for us the extinction of a peo- 
ple in the *'Last of the Mohicans." Many another tribe 
has passed away, unhonored and unsung. Westward the 
"Star of Empire" takes its way; the great domain west of 
the Mississippi is now peopled by the white race, while the 
Indians are shut up in reservations. Their doom is sealed ; 
their sun is set. Kismet" has been spoken of them; the 
total extinction of the race is only a question of time. In 
the words of Rudyard Kipling: 

" Take up the White Man's burden— 
Ye dare not stoop to less — 
Nor call too loud on freedom 
To cloke your weariness. 


By all ye will or whisper, 

By all ye leave or do, 
The silent, sullen peoples 

Shall weigh your God and you." J 

Of this past epoch of our national life there remains bul^ 
one well-known representative. That one is my brother. ^ 
He occupies a unique place in the portrait gallery of famous,^ 
Americans to-day. It is not alone his commanding per-.^ 
sonality, nor the success he has achieved along various^ 
lines, which gives him the strong hold he has on the.5 
hearts of the American people, or the absorbing interest he - 
possesses in the eyes of foreigners. The fact that in his ! 
own person he condenses a period of national history is a ' 
large factor in the fascination he exercises over others./ 
He may fitly be named the ''Last of the Great Scouts. "J 
He has had great predecessors. The mantle of Kit Carsonj 
has fallen upon his shoulders, and he wears it worthily.'^ 
He has not, and never can have, a successor. He is thei 
vanishing-point between the rugged wilderness of the past'^ 
in Western life and the vast achievement in the present, j 

When the ''Wild West" disbands, the last vestige of our^ 
frontier life passes from the scene of active realities, and| 
becomes a matter of history. 1 

"Life is real, life is earnest," sings the poet, and real] 
and earnest it has been for my brother. It has been spent| 
in others' service. I cannot recall a time when he has not : 
thus been laden with heavy burdens. Yet for himself he? 
has won a reputation, national and international. A naval^ 
officer visiting in China relates that as he stepped ashore he ' 
was offered two books for purchase — one the Bible, the] 
other a "Life of Buffalo Bill." \ 

For nearly half a century, which comprises his child- j 
hood, youth, and manhood, my brother has been before] 



I the public. He can scarcely be said to have had a child- 
I hood, so early was he thrust among the rough scenes of 
frontier life, therein to play a man's part at an age when 
most boys think of nothing more than marbles and tops. 
He enlisted in the Union army before he was of age, and 
did his share in upholding the flag during the Civil War as 
ably as many a veteran of forty, and since then he has 
remained, for the most part, in his country's service, 
always ready to go to the front in any time of danger. He 
has achieved distinction in many and various ways. He is 
president of the largest irrigation enterprise in the world, 
president of a colonization company, of a town-site com- 
pany, and of two transportation companies. He is the 
foremost scout and champion buffalo-hunter of America, 
one of the crack shots of the world, and its greatest popu- 
lar entertainer. He is broad-minded and progressive in 
his views, inheriting from both father and mother a hatred 
of oppression in any form. Taking his mother as a stan- 
dard, he believes the franchise is a birthright which should 
appertain to intelligence and education, rather than to sex. 
It is his public career that lends an interest to his private 
life, in which he has been a devoted and faithful son and 
brother, a kind and considerate husband, a loving and 
generous father. "Only the names of them that are 
upright, brave, and true can be honorably known," were 
the mother's dying words; and honorably known has his 
name become, in his own country and across the sea. 

With the fondest expectation he looks forward to the 
hour when he shall make his final bow to the public and 
retire to private life. It is his long-cherished desire to 
devote his remaining years to the development of the Big 
Horn Basin, in Wyoming. He has visited every country 
in Europe, and has looked upon the most beautiful of Old 



World scenes. He is familiar with all the most splendid 
regions of his own land, but to him this new El Dorado 
the West is the fairest spot on earth. 

He has already invested thousands of dollars and giv< 
much thought and attention toward the accomplishment 
his pet scheme. An irrigating ditch costing nearly a mil- 
lion dollars now waters this fertile region, and various 
other improvements are under way, to prepare a land flow- 
ing with milk and honey for the reception of thousands A 
homeless wanderers. Like the children of Israel, these 
w^ould never reach the promised land but for the untiring' I 
efforts of a Moses to go on before ; but unlike the ancien 
guide and scout of sacred history, my brother has beef 
privileged to penetrate the remotest corner of this primitivf 
land of Canaan. The log cabin he has erected there is noi 
unlike the one of our childhood days. Here he finds hi 
haven of rest, his health-resort, to which he hastens whei 
the show season is over and he is free again for a space 
He finds refreshment in the healthful, invigorating atmos- 
phere of his chosen retreat ; he enjoys sweet solace from th( 
cares of life under the influence of its magnificent scenery; 

And here, in the shadow of the Rockies, yet in the verj 
''light of things," it is his wish to finish his days as b 
began them, in opening up for those who come after hn 
the great regions of the still undeveloped West, and i 
poring over the lesson learned as a boy on the plains: 

" That nature never did betray 
The heart that loved her."